Frank Moore Cross

Frank Moore Cross

Frank Moore Cross, Jr. (born July 13 1921, Ross, California) is a Professor Emeritus of the Harvard Divinity School, notable for both his work in the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as his analysis of the Deuteronomistic History (DH).


Cross took his BA in 1942 at Maryville College, and his BD in 1946 at the McCormick Theological Seminary. He gained his PhD in Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1950, where he studied under William F. Albright, the great scholar of the Near East, and his MA at Harvard in 1958. Cross was awarded a DPhil at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1984 and a DSc from the University of Lethbridge in 1990.


From 1949-1950 Cross was a Junior Instructor in Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University, an instructor in Biblical History at Wellesley College from 1950 - 1951, and an Instructor in Old Testament at McCormick Theological Seminary 1951-1953, and was an Associate Professor from 1954-1957. Cross was appointed Associate Professor in Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School from 1957-1958.

At Harvard Cross was Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages in the Department of Near East Languages and Civilisations from 1958-1992, since when he has been Hancock Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages. In addition, since 1958 he has been the Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations at Harvard, and Curator of the Harvard Semitic Museum from 1958-1961, and then Director of the Museum from 1974-1987.

Frank Moore Cross was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (1971-1972), a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1978-1979), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the American Philosophical Society.

His students include Richard Elliott Friedman and Mark S. Smith, both important figures in the study of Ancient Near East history and religion.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Since June 1953 Cross has been a member of the international committee responsible for editing the Dead Sea Scrolls which had been found at Qumran in the West Bank. Cross first heard of the Scrolls while a student at Johns Hopkins University when he was shown pictures of the Isaiah Scroll by William F Albright, one of his lecturers, who later was to nominate Cross to join the Scrolls editorial team. On joining the team he was immediately allocated 61 Biblical manuscripts from Cave 4 at Qumran to prepare for publication. Initially, this involved cleaning the manuscripts in the Palestine Archaeological Museum where they were being worked on in the 'Scrollery'. As with several others on the team, Cross was financially supported between 1954 to 1960 by a John D Rockefeller subsidy.

Like Roland de Vaux, Cross was a Biblical scholar, and he used the Biblical manuscripts of Qumran to lay out a textual history of the Tanakh, and by using the non-Biblical texts he examined the development of the Jewish scribal hand from the third century BCE to the first century CE. He began to share certain Biblical scrolls from Qumran with his graduate students, some of whom published them in doctoral dissertations. Cross's datings of Jewish scribal writings gleaned from his work on the Scrolls and based on palaegraphical typology are still widely use in editions of the Scrolls.

He was one of only two American scholars on the scroll-publication team, being personally responsible for identifying thousands of fragments, all of which have now been published. Cross is widely regarded as a pioneer in Qumran studies.

Honors and Awards

In 1980 Cross received the Percia Schimmel Prize in Archaeology from the Israel Museum and the William Foxwell Albright Award in Biblical Scholarship. In 1991 he was awarded the Medalla de Honor de la Universidad Complutense (University of Madrid), the Gratz College Centennial Award in 1998 and a Lifetime Award in Textual Studies from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture in 2004.

Cross is an Honorary Member of the Israel Exploration Society and the British Society for Old Testament Study. He was a Trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1973-1991), and an Honorary Trustee from 1991; a Trustee of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center (1979-1996) and a Lifetime Honorary Trustee from 1997; and a Trustee of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation since 1992.

One of his uncles, the Rev. Laurance L. Cross, was Mayor of Berkeley, California from 1947 to 1955.

External links

* [ Cross at Harvard Divinity School]
* [,9171,821184,00.html?iid=chix-sphere Time Magazine Sept. 29, 1958: Frank M. Cross and the Dead Sea Scrolls]
* [ What's New with the Dead Sea Scrolls?]
* [ Frank Moore Cross CV and bio]

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