Dr. Christopher A. Rollston
MA., Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University
Professor Rollston was educated as a critical historian of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Second Temple Jewish Literature, and Early Christianity. He works heavily as a philologist of ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean languages, with Northwest Semitic epigraphy, ancient scribes and scribal practices, textual criticism, inscribed ossuaries, personal names, and the Dead Sea Scrolls as his strongest emphases. He works in more than a dozen ancient and modern languages, especially the biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), as well as Ugaritic, Phoenician, Akkadian, Ammonite, and Moabite. He was a full-time faculty member in the Dept. of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University for two years (as a Post-Doctoral Fellow of Northwest Semitic), where students consistently noted his strong teaching abilities. For around a decade he held the Toyozo Nakarai Professorship of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Emmanuel School of Religion, resigning that position in 2012. During the spring semester of 2013, he was the Visiting Professor of Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.). During the fall semester of 2013, Rollston was a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Scholar at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (Jerusalem) and during the Spring 2014 semester he is a Visiting Scholar of Northwest Semitic Literature at Tel Aviv University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Dr. Rollston authored the volume entitled Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010). This volume was selected by the American Schools of Oriental Research (in November 2011) as the recipient of the prestigious “Frank Moore Cross Prize for Northwest Semitic Epigraphy,” a prize named for Harvard University Professor Frank Cross. Rollston’s volume entitled The Art of the Scribe in Israel and Judah: The Script of Iron Age Hebrew Ostraca soon will be at press. In addition, he is under contract with the Society of Biblical Literature (in the Writings from the Ancient World series) for a volume entitled Northwest Semitic Royal Inscription, a volume which is slated for publication by late 2012. He is also under contract with Eerdmans Publishing Company for a volume tentatively entitled An Introduction to Northwest Semitic Epigraphy (forthcoming 2013). Several years ago, Rollston edited a New Testament volume entitled The Gospels of Michael Goulder: A North American Response, among the contributors are Krister Stendahl, Alan Segal, John Kloppenborg, and Bruce Chilton (Trinity Press International, 2002). In addition, he is working on the republication of the Old Hebrew inscriptions from Samaria and the Old Hebrew inscribed jar handles from Gibeon. Finally, he is also serving as one of the editors for a Festschrift honoring his Doktorvater, namely, P. Kyle McCarter, Jr. of Johns Hopkins University.
Rollston was invited to participate in, and fully funded for, Princeton’s Symposium on the “Talpiyot Tomb” in January 2008 (Jerusalem, Israel), Duke University’s symposium entitled “Archaeology, Politics, and the Media” April 2009, and Brown University’s symposium entitled “Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology, and Ethics” in December 2010. He lectured on the Qeiyafa Ostracaon at Vanderbilt University in November 2010. He has also lectured at Tel Aviv University (January 2012), the University of Wisconsin (March 2012), and Baylor University (March 2012). Most recently, he delivered invited lectures at the University of Michigan (summer 2012), Brigham Young University (fall 2012), and Amherst College (fall 2012), Hebrew University (May 2013; November 2013), Al-Quds University (Nov 2013), The University of the Holy Land (November 2013), and DePaul University School of Law (Nov 2013). He presents papers on a regular basis at meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Schools of Oriental Research and for a number of years, he was the co-chair of the “Ancient Inscriptions” session of the American Schools of Oriental Research and was for many years the chair of the “Palaeography Session” of the Society of Biblical Literature. Dr. Rollston is a member of the editorial board of BASOR. He is the editor of MAARAV, a specialized journal publishing articles in the field of Northwest Semitic languages and literature. He served as the guest editor for two recent sequential issues of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, namely BASOR 344 (2006) and BASOR 345 (2007), both of which were devoted to the subject of epigraphy. He holds membership in several learned societies, including, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and Israel Exploration Society. During January of 2007 Rollston testified as a Palaeographic Expert in Israel as part of the Epigraphic Forgery Trial (this was done at the behest of the District Attorney of Jerusalem). During 2011, he also served in an advisory capacity for National Geographic for the finds from a Jewish Tomb in East Talpiyot (Jerusalem).
Rollston has published articles, notes, and reviews in various venues, including Israel Exploration Journal, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Near Eastern Archaeology, Journal of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Among some of his more recent contributions are three articles in the forthcoming Festschrift for Harvard Professor Frank Moore Cross entitled An Eye for Form: Epigraphic Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross (Eisenbrauns). Rollston’s articles in this volume focus on the Phoenician script, the Old Hebrew script, and palaeographic methodology. He also published an article entitled “An Old Hebrew Stone Inscription from the City of David: A trained Hand and a remedial Hand on the Same Inscription,” in the volume entitled Puzzling Out the Past: Studies in Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures in Honor of Bruce Zuckerman (Leiden, Brill: 2012), an article entitled “The Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon: Methodological Musings and Caveats,” in the journal Tel Aviv 38 (2011): 67-82, and an article entitled “A Fragmentary Cuneiform Tablet from the Ophel (Jerusalem): Methodological Musings about the Proposed Genre and Sitz im Leben,” in the journal Antiguo Oriente 8 (2010): 11-21. He published an article entitled “Prosopography and the Yzbl Seal” which appeared in Israel Exploration Journal 59 (2009): 86-91 .In addition, his article entitled “The Phoenician Script of the Tel Zayit Abecedary and Putative Evidence for Israelite Literacy,” recently appeared in a volume entitled Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan: The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context (Eisenbrauns, 2008), his article entitled “The Dating of the Early Royal Byblian Inscriptions: A Response to Benjamin Sass,” was published in MAARAV 15 (2008): 57-93. Among older publications of note are his “Scribal Education in Ancient Israel: the Old Hebrew Epigraphic Evidence,” BASOR 344 (2006): 47-74; “Non-Provenanced Epigraphs I: Pillaged Antiquities, Northwest Semitic Forgeries, and Protocols for Laboratory Tests,” MAARAV 10 (2003): 135-193; and “Non-Provenanced Epigraphs II: The Status of Non-Provenanced Epigraphs within the Broader Corpus” MAARAV 11 (2004): 57-79. A reflection of his interests in the Second Temple Period, Rollston has also published “Inscribed Ossuaries: Personal Names, Statistics, and Laboratory Tests” in NEA 69 (2006): 125-129; and “Ben Sira 38:24-39:11 and the Egyptian Satire of the Trades: A Reconsideration,” JBL 120 (2001): 131-139.
He has conducted research at museums and collections in the Middle East (including Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria), Europe, and North America. He has participated as a staff member in archaeological excavations at Tell Umm el-Marra (Syria) and Tel Megiddo (Israel). His research has received funding from several organizations, especially the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Society of Biblical Literature and the Dorot Foundation.
Beyond the classroom, Dr. Rollston enjoys foreign travel, antique furniture restoration, African art, Indian art, swimming, and bicycling.