Anson F. Rainey


For many years Anson had served as Carta's Scientific Committee of One. His gracious advice and counseling were invaluable. May His Memory be a Blessing.

Anson's scholarship, understanding and teaching of the all-important fields of biblical geography has yet to be surpassed. A worthy disciple and successor of his friend, mentor and role model, Yohanan Aharoni, he approached Bible study with unusual vigor and from diverse angles. Anson superbly translated Aharoni's Hebrew works into English. He also edited these texts, which are required reading to this day. From Aharoni Anson inherited his love of the Land. He settled in Israel, acquired Israeli citizenship and became a fierce defender of Israel's birthright.

When approaching biblical studies, Anson enjoyed the advantage of having acquired superb knowledge of the ancient languages of the region. An outstanding scholar, he mastered, deciphered and translated many ancient texts for the first time and amended or reinterpreted others. He almost, but not quite, completed the collation and translation of the El Amarna Letters.

Aided by his knowledge of archaeology, gained through his participation in many digs, foremost among them Tel Beersheba and Tel Arad, he developed multiple approaches to biblical history, geography and meaning that he freely shared with others. Always willing to help and ever ready to spread The Word, he was a lecturer in great demand worldwide, all across the USA and in Israel. Rainey could also be a fierce critic and opponent when he disagreed with a scholar voicing views different from his own. His tongue lashings often put in print are legendary.

Anson was a man of many appetites but none greater than research and teaching. A number of his students are now luminaries in their own right. His pupils can be found in prime teaching positions at major universities and seminaries worldwide. Others who went on different paths have been enriched by having gained a deeper understanding of Holy Writ. The rich legacy Anson left is here to be enjoyed by this and future generations.

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