Robert R. Cargill

Professor Robert R. Cargill
Associate Professor, Judaism and Christianity
Joint appointment with Department of Classics
PhD, UCLA, 2008
209 Jefferson Building
Office Hours: 
Zoom or email for office appts. (Fall 2020)
Curriculum Vitae: 

Professor Cargill joined the University of Iowa faculty in 2011.

Dr. Cargill's research program focuses on Second Temple Jewish literature and biblical archaeology from the Persian period to the rise of early Christianity. He specializes in Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Pseudepigrapha, Aramaic Targums, Melchizedek traditions, issues of faith and science, and teaches Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Hellenistic Greek.

Hired as part of the University's Public Humanities in a Digital World initiative, Dr. Cargill also has done much research in the Digital Humanities, having authored a 3D, virtual reality reconstruction of the archaeological remains of Qumran, near to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. 

Dr. Cargill is the author of Melchizedek, King of Sodom: How Scribes Invented the Biblical Priest-King (Oxford University Press, 2019). He published The Cities that Built the Bible (HarperOne, 2016), which was released in paperback in 2017, as well as in Chinese traditional, Chinese simplified, and Japanese translations. He has also done extensive work in television, appearing as an expert on ABC's "Good Morning America", "Inside Edition", CNN's "Newsday", and served as a consultant and contributor for History's "Jesus: His Life," as the Jerusalem host for CNN's "Finding Jesus," Consulting Producer on History's "Bible Secrets Revealed" and hosting the NatGeo documentary "Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls." He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, American Schools of Oriental Research, Biblical Archaeology Society, Archaeological Institute of America, American Humanist Association, American Mensa, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Dr. Cargill is also the Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Research Interests: 
Second Temple Judaism, Archaeology
Selected Publications: 

(For complete list, please view Dr. Cargill's CV):

Awards, Honors and Grants: 
  • University of Iowa CLAS 2020 Outstanding Outreach and Public Engagement Award
  • University of Iowa CLAS Career Development Award for Fall 2020 semester in Israel (deferred to Fall 2021-COVID)
  • Fresno City College Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient and 2011 Commencement Speaker, Selland Arena, Fresno, CA, May 20, 2011.
  • Named one of 100 distinguished alumni as part of Fresno City College’s “100 Stars for 100 Years,” celebrating the centennial anniversary of the college (2010).
  • Grant from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the production of HD reconstructions of Qumran for use in their exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls ($16,000) (2008).
  • Research grant from the San Diego Natural History Museum and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation for dissertation work on the Qumran Visualization Project ($75,000) (2006).
  • Seaver Dean’s Scholarship for work on the project: “The History of Israel through Coins” (1998).