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Jack Sasson

Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, Emeritus

Terminal leave, Fall 2015

Jack M. Sasson is the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies. Born in Aleppo, Syria, and a US citizen since 1961, Sasson received the B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1962 and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University where he pursued Ancient Near Eastern as well as Islamic studies. Sasson recently retired from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) as its William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religious Studies in 1991. He is past president of the American Oriental Society (1996) and of the Society of Biblical Literature (southeast branch, 1986). He has belonged to the editorial board of a number of journals and series, among which are the Biblical Archaeologist, Mesopotamian Studies, Mari: Annales de recherches interdisciplinaires, Shofar, Estudios de Asia y Africa, and for major reference tools such as The Anchor Bible Dictionary. He has edited the "Bible and Ancient Near East" pages of the Journal of the American Oriental Society (1976-1984, 1996-1999) and was the editor in chief of Scribner's awards-winning Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, a 4-volume reference set that appeared in 1995. He has lectured widely, including recently as a Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne and as a Distinguished Scholar at Ben-Gurion and Brigham Young universities. Sasson's scholarly efforts have clustered around two disciplines: Assyriology, specializing on the archives found at the Middle-Euphrates town of Mari, and Hebrew Scripture, having published commentaries on Ruth (1979, now also in the second edition) and the Anchor Bible's Jonah (1989). He is currently preparing a volume that translates and annotates a large number of letters and administrative documents from the reign of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, a contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon. He is also under contract to produce a commentary on the Book of Judges for the Anchor Bible.