Eric M. Meyers is a 1962 graduate of Dartmouth College, holds an M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and received the Ph.D. with distinction from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, specializing in Bible, Jewish History, and archaeology. He served on the active faculty of Duke University from 1969 to 2015 where he was Professor since 1979; he presently is Bernice and Morton Lerner Emeritus Professor of Judaic Studies and Archaeology. He served as Director of the Graduate Program in Religion from 1979-1985 and as Associate Director in 2000-2001. He became Director again in academic year 2001-2002, a position he held until 2007.
In 1972 he was instrumental in the founding of the Cooperative Program in Judaic Studies at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, of which he was Director until 1987. He served as visiting Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1973-1977. He served as Director of The Center for Judaic Studies at Duke from 1972-1987, and from 2002 to 2015.
From 1975-1976 he served as Director of the W. F. Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. From 1982-1990 he served as First Vice President for Publications of the American Schools of Oriental Research, which founded the Jerusalem School in 1900. He served as editor of the prestigious and award-winning magazine, Biblical Archaeologist, from 1982-1992, and as associate editor of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) from 1976-1993. In January 1990 he became President of the American Schools, a position he held until July 1, 1996; he was elected again to serve as President in May 2006 and finished his third term December 30, 2008. He was Director of the Annenberg Research Institute in Philadelphia from 1991-1992.
Dr. Meyers has been a fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University, where he was also a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Post-graduate Hebrew Studies; a visiting fellow at Princeton University; and a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Meyers has twice been a visiting Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (1973, 1988) and was Croghan visiting Bicentennial Professor at Williams College in the spring of 1993. He has served as Martin Buber Guest Professor at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universtät, Frankfurt am Main, for spring 1995; he also served as Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies at the Free University of Berlin (2000). Dr. Meyers was a guest lecturer in the Honors College of the University of Leiden in spring of 2012. Dr. Meyers was recognized by ASOR in 2007 and awarded him its highest honor, the Richard J. Scheuer Medal for distinguished service and a Festschrift entitled: “The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class, and the ‘Other’ in Antiquity” Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, vols.60-61, 2007. The Society of Biblical Literature also celebrated his work in a special session in his honor in San Diego in November 2007. In the spring of 2008 he was a fellow at the Institute for Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he remains a life member. Tel Hai College and Kinneret College together with the Upper Galilee Regional Council in Israel honored Dr. Meyers on June 21, 2009, with a lifetime achievement award for his work in Galilee. In June 2012 Dr. Meyers was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Dartmouth College and delivered an address to the inductees at graduation.
Dr. Meyers has authored or co-authored 15 books, edited 20 others, and has published approximately 370 scholarly papers, reports, and reviews in the field of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Archaeology and Jewish History. Some of his recent works, co-authored with his wife Carol, include the Anchor Bible Commentary on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 published by Doubleday and Co., in 1987, Zechariah 9-14, published in 1993, and Excavations at Gush Halav, published by Eisenbrauns and ASOR. He also served as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology of the Near East (5 vols.), which was published in 1997, and as co-author of the Cambridge Companion to the Bible, which also appeared in 1997 (a fully expanded and revised edition appeared in 2008). The final report on the Ancient Synagogue Excavations at Nabratein was published by Eisenbrauns in 2009. His co-edited book, Aramaic in Postbiblical Judaism and Aramaic and Early Christianity appeared in 2010 also at Eisenbrauns and most recently his-coedited book, Light Against Darkness: Dualism in Ancient Mediterranean Religion and the Contemporary World, with Armin Lange, et al in 2011 published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Yale University Press recently published his volume with Mark A. Chancey: Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Volume 3, in 2012 in its Anchor Bible Reference Library. The first of a series of final reports on Sepphoris came out in 2013 at Eisenbrauns: The Pottery from Ancient Sepphoris, edited by Eric M. Meyers and Carol L. Meyers. Most recently, fall 2014, the Society for Biblical Literature has published the co-edited volume (with C. Meyers and M. Chancey), The Bible in the Public Square: Its Enduring Influence in American Life.
Dr. Meyers has been active in many learned societies besides ASOR including the Association of Jewish Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, and the Archaeological Institute of America. He served as a delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies from 2009 to 2014. He is also active in the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina of which he became President in 2011. He is a singer in and member of the Board of Directors of the Triangle Jewish Chorale. Meyers won the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation’s Mutt and Sara Evans Leadership Award in 2014.
Dr. Meyers has been the recipient of two major National Endowment for the Humanities awards: in 2005 for a faculty seminar on the study of ancient Aramaic (with Paul Flesher) and in 2009 he became Project Director of a major two and a half year grant for archiving the history of American archaeology in the Middle East through ASOR.
Dr. Meyers has directed digs in Israel and Italy for forty years and is perhaps best known for his 1981 discovery of the oldest Ark from ancient Israel, which coincided with the film, The Raiders of the Lost Ark. He currently is completing publication work on the site of Sepphoris, near Nazareth, capital of the Galilee in the time of Jesus and the place where the Mishnah was compiled under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Prince. National Geographic Television featured the Sepphoris mosaic discovery in November 1989, with Dr. Meyers as narrator. A full-length documentary of the dig, The Mona Lisa of Galilee, has been produced by Biblical Productions, Ltd. of Israel and has appeared on TV worldwide. Dr, Meyers also served as co-curator of the exhibition Sepphoris in Galilee: Crosscurrents in Culture, which opened at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh in 1996, and as co-editor of the catalogue of the same name. The exhibition traveled through 1998.
Dr. Meyers also served as a principal consultant for WNET's award-winning series, Civilization and the Jews, and was part of the original planning group that conceptualized the show. He also served as academic advisor and on-screen host for a 1993 film on the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Enigma of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dr. Meyers and his wife Dr. Carol Meyers have appeared frequently on the A&E Channel in the series Mysteries of the Bible. Recently (1998) Dr. Meyers served as on-screen consultant and advisor to the PBS Frontline show From Jesus to Christ. He appeared recently on the BBC/Discovery Channel series on the historical Jesus, Son of Man, in 2001. He also appeared on a History Channel special on Masada in the December of 2002, and appeared with the History Channel on a special on the James Ossuary controversy in the spring of 2003. He recently filmed with the BBC/Discovery Channel in Jerusalem for the TV film, “‘Jesus’ Family Tree.” Dr. Meyers appeared recently on a History Channel special on “Canon” in Scripture. He also served as an advisor and on-screen expert for the NOVA special that was broadcast in November, 2008, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets.”
Dr. Meyers has also appeared with National Geographic in several shows on topics relating to Second Temple Judaism and the archaeology of the Land of Israel.
Late Biblical Literature, Rabbinics, Archaeology
Near Eastern and Judaic Studies,
Awards, Honors and Distinctions
Eric M. Meyers,
Richard J. Scheuer Medal,
American Schools of Oriental Research,
Ingeborg Rennert Center For Jerusalem Studies, Bar Ilan University,
G. Ernest Wright Publication Award,
American Schools of Oriental Research,
EM Meyers, CL Meyers, M Balouka and A de Vincenz.
The Pottery from Ancient Sepphoris.
This book provides an overview of the history and chronology of the site.