So far as I know this is ‘cutting-edge’ news. Jo Ann Hackett and her husband, John Heuhnergard, both renowned Semitic language scholars, are leaving Harvard and joining the faculty at the University of Texas-Austin in the department of Middle Eastern Studies. These are two very big acquisitions for UT-Austin, and will be some great faces for us at the regional SBL meeting (SWCRS, as we call it). I am most familiar with Huehnergard’s work in Ugaritic as well as Aramaic; I am less familiar with Hackett’s. Both are working together on the revision of the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew/English Lexicon! (see comments to this post for more on this).
For those who may not be familiar with either, here is the information from their Harvard bio page:
Before joining the Harvard faculty to teach Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic epigraphy, Prof. Hackett taught in Religious Studies Departments at Occidental College in Los Angeles and at Indiana University. Besides general Old Testament and epigraphy, her research interests have embraced Phoenician language and religion; the period of the Judges; women’s lives in the ancient Near East; “fertility” religion; sacrifice, including child sacrifice; the study of myths and mythology; polemic against foreigners in the ancient Near East; and computer imaging of Ugaritic tablets. Publications include: The Balaam Text from Tell Deir Alla ; “Religious Traditions in Israelite Transjordan”; “Women’s Studies and the Hebrew Bible”; “Can a Sexist Model Liberate Us? Ancient Near Eastern ‘Fertility’ Goddesses”; annotations to the book of Numbers in The HarperCollins Study Bible ; “Spelling Differences and Letter Shapes Are Telltale Signs”; and “The Era of the Judges” in The Oxford History of the Biblical World.
Professor Huehnergard has been a member of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 1983; he served as NELC’s director of graduate studies from 1988-90, as department chair from 1990-94, and is again the director of graduate studies, 2003-. His research interests are focused on the historical and comparative grammar of the Semitic languages, especially of their morphology and their dialectology. Among the Semitic languages, he has concentrated primarily on Akkadian, and secondarily on Ugaritic, classical Ethiopic (Ge’ez), ancient Aramaic dialects, and classical Hebrew. He is also interested in the study of modern Semitic languages (especially modern Ethiopian Semitic and Neo-Aramaic), in ancient Egyptian, in the larger Afro-Asiatic language family to which Semitic and Egyptian belong, in theoretical aspects of comparative and historical linguistics, and in the history of writing and literacy. Publications include Ugaritic Vocabulary in Syllabic Transcription, The Akkadian of Ugarit, A Grammar of Akkadian, and articles such as “Comparative Semitic Linguistics,” “Old South Arabian Texts in the Harvard Semitic Museum,” “What is Aramaic?,” and “Historical Phonology and the Hebrew Piel.” He teaches courses in Semitic linguistics and in various Semitic languages.
They will be in Texas beginning August 1.
(HT: Jack Sasson).