Professor John Ray
John Ray is Herbert Thompson Professor of Egyptology in the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Selwyn College. He specialises in the later stages of the Egyptian language, including Coptic. He previously held posts in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum, and in the University of Birmingham and has been a visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and at Yale. He has also lectured widely in Europe and North America.
His publications have concentrated on the Persian and Hellenistic periods of Egyptian history, in particular on the publication of texts in demotic Egyptian. He was also instrumental in the decipherment of the Carian language from Asia Minor, and is a regular reviewer on historical and literary themes for the Times Literary Supplement. He has been a highly popular lecturer on Mediterranean, Hellenic, Black Sea and Nile cruises and land based tours. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. His semi-popular works are: Reflections of Osiris: Lives from Ancient Egypt, 2001 and The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt, 2007, both published by Profile Books. One on The Lighthouse of Alexandria is under way.
Countries and areas which he has visited and lectured on include Greece, Crete, Turkey, Cyprus, Italy (BC), Sicily, Egypt, Libya, the Holy Land, Jordan, Syria, Iran, the Red Sea and the Black Sea. He has written or lectured about the history of decipherment and cracking codes, the origins of writing, the Etruscans and their origins, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire and its impact on the modern world, Archaeology and the Bible, Byzantium and the history of early Christianity, the Turin Shroud, the victories of Nelson at the Nile and Trafalgar, Lawrence of Arabia and the life of Beethoven. He also lectures on Islam and the modern world, and has published on the hieroglyphics of the Maya from Central America.
Johnís wife, The Reverend Sonia Falaschi-Ray, has had careers as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, an Equity Investment Analyst and as an Investment Banker in the City of London. Subsequently she read Theology at the University of Cambridge and trained for the ministry at Ridley Hall. She is an ordained priest in the Church of England. This enables her to celebrate Holy Communion and other services which she would be happy to do on tour. She too has travelled widely around the Mediterranean and the Near East, as well as in Eastern Europe, North and South Africa, Latin America, the USA and the Far East.
They have a golden retriever, Quintus.