historian of religion,

prominent educator,


and authority on the Near East. Kraeling began his career at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he taught for nine years (1920–1929) and produced his first piece of scholarly research, Anthropos and Son of Man: A Study in the Religious Syncretism of the Hellenistic Orient (1927). After completing a Ph.D. from Columbia University (1927), Kraeling joined the faculty of the Yale Divinity School (1929). He earned a Th.D. from the University of Heidelberg (1935). At Yale he served as editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature (1931–1933) and was Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation (1941).

In the 1930s, Kraeling's interests shifted to archaeology and history. He participated in the British and American excavations at the site of Gerasa (Jerash) in Jordan and edited their findings in Gerasa, City of the Decapolis (1938). In 1947, Kraeling founded the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature at Yale University and served as its first chair for three years. He then moved to the University of Chicago as professor of Oriental archaeology. An indication of his efforts to promote interest in Near Eastern archaeology was his service as president of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1948–1955) and then as president of the American Oriental Society (1958–1959).

Kraeling served as the director of the Oriental Institute in Chicago from 1950 to 1960. He was responsible for the institute's excavations in Egypt and other parts of the Near East, and he directed the excavations at the Roman site of Ptolemais in Cyrenaica, publishing Ptolemais, City of the Libyan Pentapolis (1962). In addition to his administrative duties, he published a volume on John the Baptist (1951) and a study on the Dura synagogue (1956). In 1958 he assembled scholars from all over the world for a week-long seminar on the topic of urbanization in the ancient Near East. The proceedings were published as City Invincible (1960). From 1946 until 1965, he was a member of the board of directors of the Byzantine Research Institute of Harvard University at Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C., where he also lectured.

[See also American Schools of Oriental Research; Dura-Europos; Gerasa; and Ptolemais.]


  • Kraeling, Carl H. Anthropos and Son of Man: A Study in the Religious Syncretism of the Hellenistic Orient. New York, 1927.
  • Kraeling, Carl H., ed. Gerasa, City of the Decapolis. New Haven, 1938.
  • Kraeling, Carl H. John the Baptist. New York, 1951.
  • Kraeling, Carl H. The Synagogue. The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report 8, part 1. New Haven, 1956.
    Discussion of the houses at Dura-Europos
  • Kraeling, Carl H., and Robert M. Adams, eds. City Invincible: A Symposium on Urbanization and Cultural Development in the Ancient Near East. Chicago, 1960.
  • Kraeling, Carl H. Ptolemais, City of the Libyan Pentapolis. Chicago, 1962.
  • Kraeling, Carl H. The Christian Building. The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report 8, part 2. New Haven, 1967.

Victor H. Matthews