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James Francis (“Jim”) Strange was born in 1938 in Pampa, Texas, the youngest child of Floyd Thomas Burchfield and Buena Frost (“Frostie”) Burchfield. The family soon moved to Tyler, Texas, where he grew up with his two older sisters, Mary Lynn and Tomasene. Jim was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Jerry Donald (“Rip”) Strange.
During his early years in Tyler, Jim acquired a taste for the outdoors by working his way up the ranks of the local Scouting program. He eventually attained the rank of Eagle Scout. From his time in Scouting, Jim fondly recalls being driven to a farmer’s field north of town, where he and the other scouts were allowed to follow the mule-driven plow and carefully watch for artifacts to be exposed. Because the field had once been a battleground between the Caddo and the Comanche, the plow soon brought to light many buried arrowheads and potsherds.
School - Jim - Rice - University - BA
After high school, Jim attended Rice University, graduating in 1959 with a B.A. in philosophy. Continuing his education, he entered Yale Divinity School, where he earned a bachelor of divinity in 1964. It was during these years that Jim developed a strong interest in the Bible and its setting, leading him to gravitate toward archaeology.
Accordingly, after graduation from Yale, Jim looked for a doctoral program in New Testament studies at several universities, asking to be allowed to research issues in New Testament archaeology. Two schools accepted his proposal and application—Drew University and the University of Montreal—both of which had fine traditions of Biblical and archaeological studies.
Jim - Drew - University - Graduate - Student
Jim decided to attend Drew University in 1964 as a part-time graduate student. In 1969, he interrupted the writing of his dissertation to participate in his first archaeological dig—the excavations at Tel Gezer under the directorship of Bill Dever. That is where he and Eric Meyers...
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