Timothy H Lim
Professor; Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism
New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LXTelephone: +44 (0)131 650 8919
My fascination with ancient Judaism first arose out of a recognition that so much of the New Testament could be better understood if I only knew more about the Jewish world in which Jesus and Paul lived.
Having published my first ever article on Paul's understanding of rhetoric, I was well acquainted with the languages, literature, history and conventions of the Graeco-Roman world. But I soon realised that Jewish thought was indispensable, so I devoted myself to the study of ancient Judaism, first as background to early Christianity then for its own sake.
What I find fascinating about research in this area is its ability to surprise, to intrigue and to contribute to historical knowledge. I remember deciphering a Dead Sea Scroll and the rush of excitement that I felt when I worked out how a Jewish scribe two thousand years ago dated the events of the flood story by the use of the 364-day solar calendar. At the time, no one had yet published anything on what became known as 4Q252 or 4QCommentary on Genesis.
Educated in Vancouver, Sydney, Jerusalem and Oxford, I was Lady Davis Fellow in the Department of Bible, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, between 1989-1990, Kennicott Hebrew Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Oxford, and Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, between 1991-1993. I came to Edinburgh in 1994, first as Lecturer in Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins, then in 1998 as Reader in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies, and finally as Professor of Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism in 2005.