Professor Timothy Lim

Professor in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism


Educated in Vancouver, Jerusalem and Oxford, I came to Edinburgh in 1994 as Lecturer in Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins. I became Reader in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies in 1998, and in 2005 became Professor of Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism.

I have wide ranging interests in the history, literature and religious thought of ancient Judaism and the origins of Christianity.  As an example of the spread of topics that I cover, I am writing or have just written commissioned articles on the post-exilic period, the Samaritan Pentateuch, Old Testament theology, and study of the Old Testament in the New Testament.

The focus of my research, however, is on the Dead Sea Scrolls and their contribution to Biblical Studies and Second Temple Judaism.

I have just published a study on the formation of the Jewish canon for Yale University Press (2013) in the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library Series in which I advance a theory of the majority canon.  

I am currently writing a commentary on the ancient commentary to the prophecy of Habakkuk for the series, The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (OUP) for which I also serve as General Editor.

I welcome inquiries from postgraduate students who would like to pursue master and doctoral studies.

Undergraduate teaching

In the undergraduate curriculum, I teach courses in the areas of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism.  I teach courses on the Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the religion, history and literature of Second Temple Judaism, including selected books of the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha.

Postgraduate teaching

I teach various advanced courses at the postgraduate level, including advanced Hebrew language and literature, Aramaic language and literature, and topics in ancient Judaism (bible interpretation, impurities, sacrifices and the Temple).

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

The hallmark of my approach is the study of the Bible in its historical context and in the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

I hold that the books of the Old and New Testaments should not only be studied in relation to other canonical books, but also with non-canonical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Even categorizing sacred texts as 'canonical' and 'non-canonical' is open to question from an historical standpoint.  They are better described as the authoritative scriptures of Second Temple Period Judaism.

I study the authoritative texts of Judaism and Christianity as a historian of religious thought.

Current research interests

I am writing a commentary on the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab) and editing the Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford University Press).

Affiliated research centres

Research activities

View all 13 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

More information about research projects by Prof Lim are available on his Edinburgh Research Explorer profile.

I am the General Editor of a new series entitled The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: OUP).  

View all 73 publications on Research Explorer