The American School In Jerusalem -- By: James A. Montgomery

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 087:347 (Jul 1930)
Article: The American School In Jerusalem
Author: James A. Montgomery


The American School In Jerusalem

James A. Montgomery

IN being honored by the invitation of the distinguished Editor of Bibliotheca Sacra to give a sketch of the School in Jerusalem, it is a pleasure to the writer to recall the ancient notable associations of that Journal, now a century old, with Palestinian Archaeology. Among its founders and early contributors was Edward Robinson, nomen clarum, who was the pioneer of American research in the Holy Land, and who is generally recognized as the creator of its scientific exploration. That the present Editor, almost a century later, is following in the footsteps of that distinguished man and that he is adding to his results, not only by exploration but also by excavation, is a joy to the administration and faculty of the School with which he has so generously and wholeheartedly cooperated.

It is an honor to America that among the pioneers in this field were its own citizens, men who were devoted in their love of the Bible and who were determined to apply all possible means of knowledge and science to its elucidation. But noblesse oblige!—the honor is a challenge to us, their successors. What great things they accomplished in the day of small things! And have we with all our resources and opportunities kept pace with them? In addition to Robinson we recall Lieutenant Lynch, who made the first geological survey in Palestine by his scientific exploration of the Dead Sea. There was the ambitious undertaking of the American Palestine Exploration Fund in the early seventies, modeled after the British Palestine Exploration Fund, which boldly undertook to share with the somewhat older organization in the honor of surveying and exploring the Holy Land.1 There are the several

names of many individuals who have contributed to the credit of America: the missionary Rev. Eli Smith, who made Robinson’s researches possible; another American missionary, Rev. W. M. Thompson, whose Land and the Book remains a classic; the American Consul at Jerusalem, Selah Merrill, who was more like the European diplomatic officers in his zeal for research, unlike those of our own day, whom our government confines strictly to business; the distinguished scholars of the American University in Beirut, who in various ways have contributed to the study of Syria and Palestine, among whom may be singled out the veteran W. J. Bliss, the first excavator of a Palestinian tell and the author of the best book on the history of Palestinian exploration. In the past two decades America has taken its part in several grand archaeological enterprises, at Samaria under the auspices of Harvard University, at Beth-shean u...

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