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Biblical Archaeology Review 47:1, Spring 2021

Strata: Milestone: James A. Sanders

By Marvin A. Sweeney

James Alvin Sanders, Professor Emeritus of Intertestamental and Biblical Literature at the Claremont School of Theology, passed away in his home on October 1, 2020. His son, Robin, and daughter-in-law, Dawn, were with him. He is also survived by grandsons, Robin, Jr., and Alex. His wife, Dora Geil Cargille Sanders, predeceased him in 2016.

Jim was born on November 28, 1927, to Robert E. and Sue Black Sanders in Memphis, Tennessee. Staying in Tennessee, he began his studies at Vanderbilt University, earning the B.A. degree magna cum laude in 1948 and the B.D. degree with distinction in 1951. As part of his divinity program, he also studied in 1951 at the Faculté libre de théologie protestante de Paris and the University of Paris (the Sorbonne).

Jim and Dora married following his graduation from divinity school. They moved to Cincinnati, where Jim commenced his Ph.D. program at the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1955, he completed his dissertation, Suffering as Divine Discipline in the Old Testament and Post-Biblical Judaism, written under the direction of Samuel Sandmel and Sheldon Blank.1

During his illustrious career in biblical studies, Jim earned honorary doctoral degrees from Acadia University (1973), Glasgow University (1975), Coe College (1988), Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute for Religion (1988), Hastings College (1996), and California Lutheran University (2007).

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