John Huehnergard (1952—) is the reigning authority on comparative Semitic linguistics.  From 1974-79, he

studied Assyriology and Comparative Semitics at Harvard University under William Moran and Thomas Lambdin, writing a dissertation on the Akkadian of Ugarit.  He has taught at Columbia University (1978-83), Harvard University (1983-2009), and the University of Texas at Austin (2009—).  His research focuses on the classification of the Semitic languages and linguistic issues in the individual Semitic languages.     

Although Huehnergard does not work directly on the Hebrew Bible, his work on Semitic philology is indispensible for the study and interpretation of the biblical text and the Hebrew language.  His two introductory grammars, A Grammar of Akkadian and An Introduction to Ugaritic, have become standard in the field.  He is currently working on a revision of the BDB Hebrew dictionary with Jo Ann Hackett

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