Top Ten Old Testament Scholars

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor
of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

Charles Halton of Awilum has developed a list of what he considers to be the “Top Ten Old Testament Scholars Since 1800.” It is a good list, but I disagree with his numbers 9 and 10.

At number 9 he lists John Van Seters and Thomas L. Thompson because of their contribution to the minimalist debate. At number 10 he lists William Dever because of his work as an archaeologist.

I believe that the work of Van Seters and Thompson has elicited much debate but the debate does not make them top Old Testament scholars. Dever is a good archaeologist but he cannot be considered a top Old Testament scholar either.

I agree with numbers 1-8 in Halton’s list. However, I would list Albrecht Alt at number 9 and S. R. Driver at number 10. Although Alt never published many books (most of his publications were articles), he has greatly influenced Old Testament studies with his seminal articles. Driver’s commentary on Deuteronomy and his An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament are great examples of works written by a top Old Testament scholar.

NOTE: Charles Halton’s post is no longer available. I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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8 Responses to Top Ten Old Testament Scholars

  1. Many have critiqued my numbers 9 and 10 picks, but you’re the first to propose replacements for them. I think I agree with your critique and suggestions.


  2. Charles,

    Thank you for your words. I think Alt was a great Old Testament scholar (and so was Driver).

    Claude Mariottini


  3. Anonymous says:

    David Noel Freedman? Walter Brueggemann?


  4. Dear Friend,

    I have no problem in including David Noel Freedman and Walter Brueggemann to that list. These two scholars have made great contributions to biblical studies and they deserve to be in any list that mentions great Old Testament scholars.

    Claude Mariottini


    • nuhu bitrus says:

      What about Professor Zamani B. Kafang? He is a Professor in Old Testament Studies. He is from Nigeria in Africa .


      • Nuhu,

        Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the work of Professor Kafang. I will try to find some of his work and read what he wrote. Thank you for calling my attention to Professor Kafang. It is a shame that here in the USA we are not familiar with the work of many Old Testament scholars from Africa.

        Claude Mariottini


  5. Dr. Claude, I am from India doing my D.Min. I admire the humility in your response. Just observing the way you respond has blessed me so much.


    • Premkumar,

      Thank you for your nice words. I am glad that you enjoyed my post.

      I have many readers in India. This indicates that the people in India enjoy reading studies on the Old Testament.

      Claude Mariottini


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