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John Van Seters (1935) B.A., University of Toronto; B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; M.A., Ph.D., Yale UniversityEdit

A Canadian native, John Van Seters is currently Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was formerly James A. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature in the Department of Religious Studies. His research interests include Pentateuchal studies, history of law, ancient historiography, and the history of biblical scholarship.


In his dissertation, The Hyksos: A New Investigation (1966), Van Seters challenged the scholarly consensus on the origin of the Hyksos by arguing that they originated in southern Palestine. Against both the biblical archaeology school of William F. Albright and the “tradition history” school of Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth, Van Seters argued that there is no evidence supporting the historical existence of the biblical patriarchs in Abraham in History and Tradition (1975). He also revived the “supplementary hypothesis” of Pentateuchal studies, arguing that J was written in the 6th century BCE as a prologue to DH, to which P supplemented more material. Van Seters compared ancient historiographies (In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origins of Biblical History (1983)) to help understand Israelite historiography, especially DH.