Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Ron E. Tappy

G. Albert Shoemaker Professor of Bible and Archaeology
Project Director and Principal Investigator, The Zeitah Excavations
Year Started at PTS: 1997

Contact Info



  • Ph.D., Harvard University / Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • A.M., Harvard University  / Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • M.A.T.S., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary / Old Testament
  • B.S.Ed., University of Virginia / English Education


Dr. Ron Tappy is the G. Albert Shoemaker Professor of Bible and Archaeology. He also serves as the project director and principal investigator of The Zeitah Excavations, an archaeological field project at Tel Zayit, Israel. In addition to completing graduate work at the Jerusalem University-College and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Tappy received an MATS degree summa cum laude from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and his AM and Ph.D. (with distinction) from Harvard University. His teaching focuses on the life and literature of the Old Testament period, biblical archaeology, and the history of Israel. Tappy's teaching method examines ways in which the broader cultural context of biblical Israel shaped both the world of the biblical writers and, by extension, their theological outlook. His research and publication interests center on the interrelated nature of the cultural, political, and economic history of Iron Age Israel as well as the various cultural groups with whom Israel interacted. He began excavating at various sites in Israel more than 30 years ago, and his current field research at Tel Zayit involves a full-scale field exploration of a Late Bronze–Iron Age town in the Shephelah (“lowlands”) region of biblical Judah. During the 2005 season of excavation, his team discovered an inscription incised in stone of the earliest known, securely datable Hebrew alphabet. (See New York Times, Nov. 9, 2005.) He has written articles on a variety of topics, including subjects in biblical archaeology, ancient Israelite burial customs and beliefs about the afterlife, the 23rd Psalm, and the Ten Commandments. He is a leading authority on the archaeology of Israelite Samaria and has written two books on that subject. Prior to accepting his current position at PTS, Tappy taught at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the University of Michigan. He is married to Connie Gundry Tappy and has one daughter, Madeleine Rose Tappy.

Church Association

Local Church Membership: Non-denominational

Professional Competencies


  • Excavation licenses for Tel Zayit, 1999-present, Israel Antiquities Authority

Areas of Specialty

  • Syro-Palestinian archaeology
  • Ancient Near Eastern history
  • Hebrew Bible
  • History and archaeology of the city of Samaria

Selected Professional Service

Board Service

  •  1999-2011: The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, Jerusalem

Leadership for Professional Societies

  • 2004-2011: Chair, Personnel Committee, The Albright Institute
  • 2002: Chair, Nominations Committee, The Albright Institute

Selected Awards/Distinctions

  • 2009: Frank Moore Cross Award (for most substantial edited or authored volume of original research related to ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean epigraphy, text and/or tradition), Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan, The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context
  • 2008: Featured archaeologist in NOVA special, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”
  • 2005: Discovery of the Tel Zayit Abecedary (oldest extant, complete Hebrew alphabetic inscription, from The Zeitah Excavations)
  • 1997: PEW Charitable Trust Research Fellowship

Additional Resources

Complete CV
High res image
The Zeitah Excavations
Radio Interview: American Church in Paris Dr. Tappy presented a three-part lecture and was interviewed about his work in archaeology.