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William Foxwell Albright

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William Foxwell Albright
Born 24 May, 1891 Coquimbo, Chile
Died 19 September, 1971 Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Parents Wilbur Finley Albright

Zephine Viola Foxwell Albright

Spouse Ruth Norton
Religious affiliation Methodist

William Foxwell Albright was an archaeologist, linguist, expert on ceramics, biblical scholar, author, and professor. He was born in Chile to American missionary parents. He understood 26 languages, both ancient and modern.

Albright published nearly 1,100 scholarly works during his 60 years as a scholar, including 350 in scholarly journals. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1955. He effectively founded the discipline of biblical archaeology.

Accuracy of the Bible

Albright believed that the Bible was a very reliable historical document. Of the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, he wrote:

It stands absolutely alone in ancient literature, without a remote parallel even among the Greeks, where we find the closest approach to a distribution of peoples in genealogical framework. But among the Greeks the framework is mythological. In view of the inextricable confusion of racial and national strains in the ancient near East it would be quite impossible to draw up a simple scheme which would satisfy all scholars; no one system could satisfy all the claims made on the basis of ethnic predominance, ethnographic diffusion, language, physical type, culture, historical tradition. The Table of Nations remains an astonishingly accurate document.[1]

Of the books of Moses more generally, Albright said:

The contents of our Pentateuch are, in general, very much older than the date at which they were finally edited; new discoveries continue to confirm the historical accuracy of the literary antiquity of detail after detail in it.[2]

And of the Bible in general:

The excessive scepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history.[3]



  1. William F. Albright, Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands, The Biblical Colloquium / Funk & Wagnalls, 1955, p.25.
  2. William F. Albright, Archaeology of Palestine, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Pelican Books, 1960, p. 225, quoted by Miller.
  3. William F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine, revised edition, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Pelican Books, 1960, pp.127,128, quoted by Miller.
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