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June 15, 2010 | History

Cyrus Herzl Gordon

1908 - 2001

Cyrus Herzl Gordon (1908 - March 30, 2001), was an American scholar of Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages.

Gordon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Lithuanian emigrant and physician Benjamin Gordon. He was raised in an upper class Jewish family with a particular emphasis on devotion to Jewish learning, rational thinking, and an openness to secular learning. Gordon began studying Hebrew at age five and became interested in both Greek and Latin as a young child.

Gordon took his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and also took courses at both nearby Gratz College and Dropsie College. These three institutions had specialized programs in the Bible, classics, and ancient Near East. At these universities, Gordon studied both Old Persian and Sanskrit.

Gordon spent the first half of the 1930s in the Near East as an American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) fellow, working out of both the Baghdad and Jerusalem centers. Gordon dug with Leonard Woolley at Ur, and worked with Flinders Petrie at Tell el-'Ajjul. He worked with W. F. Albright at Tell Beit Mirsim, and accompanied Nelson Glueck on his explorations in Transjordan. He was involved in the examination and translation of the Egyptian Tell el-Amarna tablets while with the J.D.S. Pendlebury expedition.

When Gordon returned to the U.S. in 1935, he was unable to find a permanent academic position, primarily due to the Depression. Gordon took a series of temporary positions at Johns Hopkins University, at Smith College, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 3 revisions
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June 15, 2010 Edited by 82.171.181.173 Edited without comment.
September 9, 2008 Edited by RenameBot fix author name
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import