“John Bright (25 September 1908 – 26 March 1995) was an American biblical scholar, the author of several important books including the influential A History of Israel (1959), currently in its fourth edition. He was closely associated with the American school of Biblical criticism pioneered by William F. Albright, which sought to marry archaeology to a defense of the reliability of the Bible, especially the earlier books of the Old Testament.
“Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, John Bright was raised in the Presbyterian Church U.S., and attended Union Theological Seminary in Virginia where he earned his B.D. in 1931, followed by a Th.M. degree four years later. In the winter of 1931-32, Bright participated in an archaeological campaign at Tell Beit Mirsim, where he met the renowned William Foxwell Albright of Johns Hopkins University, who became his mentor. He also participated in a dig at Bethel in 1935. In the autumn of that year he studied under Albright at Johns Hopkins University but dropped out later due to insufficient funds to continue his studies, and took a position as the assistant pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina, which did not last long. He was able to resume his studies at Johns Hopkins while he was the pastor of Catonsville Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, and completed his doctoral degree in 1940. He then went back to Union Theological Seminary where he was appointed to the Cyrus H. McCormick Chair of Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation, a position he held until his retirement in 1975.
Influence and legacy
“Bright's work A History of Israel for which he is most famous was published in 1959, with a second and third edition in 1972 and 1981. The second edition (1972) included new information from the Adad-nirari stela, published in 1968, and the Hebrew ostracon found at Mecad Hasavyahu (Yabneh-Yam), published in 1962. His third edition (1981) included a thorough revision of the first four chapters. While including new data, Bright maintained his theological conviction that "the heart of Israel’s faith lies in its covenantal relationship with YHWH."
“In an appendix to the fourth edition (2000) of Bright's work, William P. Brown outlined some of the changes in the field of historical research since the third edition. Brown notes:
· The Age of King David: A Study in the Institutional History of Israel (doctoral dissertation 1940) (Union Seminary Review, 53  pp.87-109).
· The Kingdom of God: The Biblical Concept and Its Meaning for the Church (New York/Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1953)
- Early Israel in Recent History Writing (Westminster 1956)
- Jeremiah: A Commentary (Anchor Bible 21: Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965).
- The Authority of the Old Testament (Baker, 1975)
- Covenant and Promise: The Prophetic Understanding of the Future in Pre-Exilic Israel (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976).
- A History of Israel: With an Introduction and Appendix by William P. Brown, 4th edition, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000. (ISBN 0-664-22068-1) (Google books preview)
- "Obituary: Dr. John Bright, 86, A Biblical Historian". The New York Times. 1 April, 1995. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
Dr. John Bright, 86, A Biblical Historian - New York Times Retrieved 2011-08-20
- History of Israel - Introduction PDF (385 KB) p.13 fn.25
- History of Israel - Introduction PDF (385 KB) p.19
- History of Israel - Appendix PDF (385 KB) p.483–484, fn.103