I began the interview in his Lexington, Massachusetts home by asking Professor Cross if he recognized the following quotation:
“The whole of the ancient Near East has been his bailiwick—its geography and archaeology, its languages and literature, its history and religion. I suspect that he is the last…generalist with the specialist’s precision in designated areas of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Anatolian and Syro-Palestinian studies…Each of the great discoveries in the Near East has galvanized [him] with excitement and he has been found regularly in the forefront of those who endeavored to interpret the new data and to build new synthesis comprehending the new evidence.”
He immediately recognized the quotation. These were his own words in a 1970 tribute he had written to the great biblical archaeologist William Foxwell Albright.1
I told him these words reminded me of another great scholar—himself. I went on to describe him:
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