Saturday, February 14, 2004

Emails from Frank Cross and David Noel Freedman
Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was lucky in many ways for me. Maybe lucky isn't the right word, but it was a memorable day. I received two emails from two of the greatest Bible scholars of the 20th century. The first was from Frank Cross Jr., now retired from Harvard. He taught most of my teachers. This was the first I had received correspondance from him, and it was exciting for me. He is a hero of mine. Last semester I received the Frank Cross Award from the American Schools of Oriental Research for my book To Your Tents, O Israel!. I wrote Frank Cross and said among other things: "I wanted to contact you and let you know how much the award means to me, as well as how indebted I am to your scholarship. You not only taught my teachers, but your seminal article “The Priestly Tabernacle” started the debate on the tabernacle’s historicity, and a large part of my book related to this. Thank you." Professor Cross wrote back and said many kind things, including "letters like yours warm an old teacher's heart." That was nice. Then I received another email, this time from David Noel Freedman. Professor Freedman was one of my teachers at UCSD, and remains a friend of mine. He wrote to say that he received the manuscript for the atlas that I sent him, and that he was excited about the forthcoming publication. Professor Freedman is editing the manuscript and it will be published with Eerdmans. Freedman and Cross were students together at Johns Hopkins where they studied under William F. Albright. It really made my day to hear from them both, and even more amazing perhaps, that they both sent emails. Professor Freedman still does his incredible work on a typewriter, and for him to be sending email is pretty shocking for those that know him. Sometimes ancient historians/Bible scholars pride themselves on how little they know about technology. How times have changed.

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