About

Lawrence H. Schiffman is the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University. He was formerly the Chair of New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and serves as Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.  He was also a member of NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies and Center for Near Eastern Studies.  During the academic year 1989/90 he was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as part of a research group dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls.  In 1992/3 he was a fellow of the Annenberg Research Institute in Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) where he was part of a research team working on the unpublished scrolls.  Together with a colleague, he served as editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (2000).  In 1991, he was appointed to the team publishing the scrolls in the Oxford series, Discoveries in the Judean Desert.  He edited the journal Dead Sea Discoveries for ten years.  He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Center for Online Judaic Studies in New York from 2005 to 2008.

Professor Schiffman received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.  He is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism in Late Antiquity, the history of Jewish law, and Talmudic literature.  His publications include The Halakhah at Qumran (E. J. Brill, 1975); Sectarian Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Courts, Testimony, and the Penal Code (Scholars Press, 1983); Who Was a Jew? Rabbinic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism (Ktav, 1985); From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Ktav, 1991); a Hebrew book entitled Halakhah, Halikhah u-Meshihiyut be-Khat Midbar Yehudah (Law, Custom, and Messianism in the Dead Sea Sect) (Merkaz Shazar, 1993); the jointly authored monograph, Hebrew and Aramaic Magical Texts from the Cairo Genizah (Sheffield, 1992); Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls (Jewish Publication Society, 1994; Doubleday paperback, in the Anchor Research Library, 1995); Texts and Traditions: A Source Reader for the Study of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Ktav, 1998), Understanding Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Ktav, 2003) and some 200 articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls and rabbinic Judaism in scholarly journals, books, and encyclopedias. His most recent book is The Courtyards of the House of the Lord:  Studies on the Temple Scroll (Brill, 2008).

Professor Schiffman served as director of New York University’s program at the archaeological excavations at Dor, Israel, from 1980-82.  He has served as visiting professor at Yale University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Duke University, Shier Visiting Distinguished Professor in Judaic Studies at the University of Toronto, the Johns Hopkins University, the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, the Luce Visiting Professor at the University of Hartford and the Hartford Seminary, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Queens College and Yeshiva University. He was a member of the academic committee for the Summer, 1997 celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the 2008 sixtieth anniversary conference, both held in Jerusalem.  Dr. Schiffman is a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and a corresponding fellow of the Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University.  He is a past president of the Association for Jewish Studies.  He has been chairman of the Columbia University Seminar for the Study of the Hebrew Bible. He is a member of the board of the World Union for Jewish Studies and the Society for Biblical Literature where he served as chairman of the Qumran section.

Prof. Schiffman was featured in the PBS Nova series documentary, “Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” as well as in four BBC documentaries on the scrolls, the McNeil-Lehrer Report, and a Discovery special.  He appeared regularly in the popular educational series, “Mysteries of the Bible,” that appeared on Arts and Entertainment (A&E), and more recently, in the four-part series “Kingdom of David” on PBS. He has also participated in documentaries produced by CNN and National Geographic. He regularly lectures at many Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits across the U.S. and has lectured widely in many communities around the country on topics within Ancient Judaism and Jewish law and civilization. Currently two sets of his audiotapes for The Modern Scholar series are available: The Dead Sea Scrolls and The Hebrew Bible.  Prof. Schiffman is the recipient of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture Scholarship Award and an occasional columnist for the Long Island Jewish World newspaper.

Professional Memberships

  • Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, member Board of Directors
  • Fellow, American Academy for Jewish Research
  • Association for Jewish Studies (Program Chair, Vice President for Publications, President)
  • International Organization for Qumran Studies
  • Israel Exploration Society
  • Jewish Law Association
  • Society of Biblical Literature (have served on Editorial Board and as chairman, Qumran Section)
  • University Seminar for the Study of the Hebrew Bible, Columbia University
  • University Seminar on Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University
  • World Union of Jewish Studies (member of the council)
  • Corresponding Fellow, Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies, Bar-Ilan University