On this day in 2012, Frank Moore Cross, the distinguished Bible Scholar breathed his last and was gathered to his people at 91 years of age. Professor Cross was considered one of the great Bible scholars of our time. He is probably most known for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Cross studied under William F. Albright at Johns Hopkins University where he received his PhD in 1950. In 1957 he was appointed Associate Professor in Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School and one year later he was appointed Harvard University’s Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages. He held this position from 1958-1992 and until his passing he was Hancock Professor Emeritus.
In 2004, BAR published an interview with editor Herschel Shanks, Cross explains his relationship with the Hebrew Bible. He states that the tradition from which he came out of gave equal weight to both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, but that his own interest was more in the Hebrew Bible, and his religion was more personally related to the Hebrew Bible than the New Testament. When pressed further by Shanks to explain what he meant, this was his answer.
“I find myself a little uncomfortable in the New Testament environment. And this is also true of what I would call late Judaism, the Judaism of the Second Temple and later. With the Hebrew Bible, you’re living in an austere world. When you come to the New Testament you can’t even swing a cat without hitting three demons and two spirits. And magic becomes something that is everywhere. In the Hebrew Bible this sort of thing doesn’t go on.” (BAR July/August, 2004)
His studies have contributed to our understanding of the Hebrew Bible. May his memory be for a blessing, and his work benefit students of Scripture for many years to come.
Frank Moore Cross, Jr. (July 13, 1921 – October 16, 2012)