William L. Moran

William L. Moran

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William Lambert Moran was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Assyriology is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of ancient Mesopotamia and the related cultures that used cuneiform writing. The field covers the Akkadian sister-cultures of Assyria and Babylonia, together with their cultural predecessor; Sumer...

. He was born in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


In 1939, Moran joined the Jesuit order. He then attended Loyola University
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1870 under the title St...

 in Chicago, where he received his B.A. in 1944. After this, he taught Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 in a high school in Cincinnati between 1946 and 1947. He resumed his studies at Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 and gained his Ph.D. in 1950. After further studies he worked on the "Chicago Assyrian Dictionary", and in 1955 he taught biblical studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute
Pontifical Biblical Institute
The Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy is an institution of the Holy See run by the Jesuits that offers instruction at the university level...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 between 1958 and 1966.

In 1966, he took the position as professor of Assyriology at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, and was respected as a rigorous and learned teacher of the Akkadian language
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 who could easily discuss problems in Biblical lexicon and literature. He was married to Suzanne Drinker in 1970. In 1985, he was appointed Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities Emeritus, and in 1996 he was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...


He retired in 1990, and moved to Brunswick
Brunswick, Maine
Brunswick is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 20,278 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metropolitan area. Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, , and the...

, Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, where he died in 2000. In 2005, a 224 page book titled 'Biblical and Oriental Essays in Memory of William L. Moran,' edited by Agustinus Gianto for Biblica et Orientalia 48 was published by Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico to honor his career and memory.http://www.biblico.it/pubblicazioni/bor_gianto_moran.htm


His doctorate, under W.F Albright, studied Canaanite glosses in the Amarna letters and was significant for the understanding of biblical Hebrew. Other significant publications include the standard translation and commentary of "The Amarna Letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

" in 1992. These texts document the international and imperial correspondence of the Egyptian Pharaohs around the time of the Egyptian kings Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

, Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

 and Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

. Many other journal articles concerned illuminating studies of Akkadian literature, including the Gilgamesh Epic
Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh king of Uruk, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much...


External links