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The Philip J. King Professorship

The gift of the Leon Levy Foundation to establish the Philip J. King Professorship

August 2, 2006

Harvard University has established the Philip J. King Professorship, to be held by a scholar of the ancient world. The professorship is funded by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Philip J. King is one of the world’s leading scholars in Biblical Studies and archaeology. He has excavated in Jordan, the West Bank, Israel, and North Yemen and has been involved around the world with people and organizations related to his fields of study. Among other posts, Professor King has served as President, Trustee, and Honorary Trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research; as President of the Society of Biblical Literature; as President and Vice-President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, as well as Chair of its Archaeology Committee; as President of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research; and as a member of the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America. He also received a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Professor King is currently the Director of the Shelby White-Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University.

Scripture and Other Artifacts: Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Honor of Philip J. King appeared in 1994. This compilation of essays by colleagues and experts paid tribute to the man who had become one of the field’s most well-known and admired figures. As Leon Levy and Shelby White wrote in the volume’s introduction, “Phil’s remarkable ability to understand and to listen, to accept people’s differences, has made it possible for him to know a large number of people very well…The world of archaeology will be enhanced for future generations because of the important role that Phil King played throughout his long career. And the lives of all of us who call him friend have also been enriched by our association with this generous man.”

King received his AB from St. John Seminary College in Boston in 1945, his STL in 1954 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., his SSL in 1957 from Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy, and his STD in 1959 from Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, Italy. He became the Professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Theology at Boston College in 1974 and held that position until he retired in 2001.

The Leon Levy Foundation is committed to fostering at Harvard a truly interdisciplinary academic perspective to understanding the civilizations of the ancient world, with a desired focus on the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The Philip J. King Professorship will be used to support an outstanding scholar of the ancient world who will further such commitment and is to be awarded at the discretion of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It is Harvard’s intention in the first instance to appoint an Egyptologist. The appointment may be at either the tenured or tenure-track level, and the title of the incumbent will reflect his or her discipline and the policies of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the time. The incumbent shall be known as the Philip J. King Professor, the Philip J. King Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor on the Philip J. King Endowment, in keeping with the naming conventions of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Harvard will always endeavor to appoint the best possible candidate to this professorship and acknowledges the desire of the Leon Levy Foundation that the first scholar supported by this fund be a tenured professor or an associate professor.

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