Top Ten Old Testament Scholars Since 1800

Charles Halton has written an interesting list of the “Top Ten Old Testament Scholars Since 1800” over at Awilum.  The only surprises on the list (IMHO) are the inclusion of Thompson and Van Seters at number nine.  While I am not denying their significant input in biblical studies and would probably be in a top 50, they are not top 10 material. I would have to agree with some of the comments that as far as living scholars Emanuel Tov should perhaps be included.

The big question is what criteria were used to make the list. I would think that such a list should only include scholars whose influence spanned across sub fields within Old Testament studies and who influenced the field not only through their publications but also through their students. Thus, the inclusion of Wellhausen, Gunkel, Noth, von Rad, Albright, and Childs. On the other hand, I wouldn’t include Thompson or Van Seters, since they are one trick ponies (no offence intended). That is also why I wouldn’t include the likes of Jacob Milgrom, Sarah Japhet,  Phylis Trible, etc., but I would perhaps include S.R. Driver, C. Briggs, Sigmund Mowinckel, and Dominique Barthelemy high up in my list. Furthermore, Dever isn’t even an Old Testament/Hebrew Bible scholar, so he wouldn’t make my list at all (that, of course, depends on how narrowly you define “Old Testament scholars”).

Ah, “the making of many books lists there is no end, and much study wearies the flesh”

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2 Responses to Top Ten Old Testament Scholars Since 1800

  1. Ken says:

    Do you mean Cross instead of Childs? Childs is a bit of a one trick pony himself too, no? Frank M. Cross rightly belongs alongside Wellhausen, Gunkel, von Rad, and Albright. Cross should factor very high for his wide ranging and highly influential contributions to epigraphy, paleography, source and redaction criticism, Israelite religion and history, and perhaps most especially because he directly supervised a whole new generation of first class scholars like Halpern, Knoppers, McCarter, and many, many others. Teaching ought to count for something! I also agree with names such as Driver, Briggs, Mowinckel, and Barthelemy. Their contributions are enormous. For the final position, Tov, I think, merits consideration as do Albrecht Alt, Rudolf Kittel (despite his politics for BHK and TDNT alone), Nadav Na’aman, Andre Lemaire, Shemeryahu Talmon, Mario Liverani, and really a whole slew of others. Oh, and I forgot Jim West!

  2. Ken says:

    Obviously, TDNT is Gerhard Kittel. That’s what I get for posting before breakfast. Still, Rudolf Kittel for BHK alone.

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