Schaeffer, Claude F.A.°
SCHAEFFER, CLAUDE F.A.°
SCHAEFFER, CLAUDE F.A. ° (1898–1982), French archaeologist. He was curator of the French National Museums and the Museum of Antiquities (1933); director of research of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1946); and professor of European prehistory and national archaeology at the Ecole du Louvre (1951) and at the College of France (1954). He directed a number of French archaeological missions in Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and especially at Ras Shamra in Syria and Enkomia-Alasia in Cyprus.
Schaeffer is principally remembered as the excavator of Ras Shamra (see *Ugarit), one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of the 20th century bearing directly upon the language and literature of the Hebrew Bible. He examined the importance of Ras Shamra for the understanding of the literature, archaeology, history, and theology of Israel and its surroundings.
The religion of Ras Shamra and the form and quality of Canaanite poetry are compared with the Bible in his 1936 Schweich Lectures of the British Academy, published in 1939 as The Cuneiform Texts of Ras Shamra-Ugarit. The authoritative reports directly covering the expeditions at Ras Shamra published under his direction include La… campagne de fouilles à Ras Shamra-Ugarit (17 vols. (1929–55); Ugaritica (4 vols., 1939–62), and Le Palais Royal d'Ugarit, containing the texts from the different literary archives of the royal palace at Ras Shamra (1955).