Professor Timothy Lim

Professor of Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism

Background

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

I have wide ranging interests in the history, literature and religious thought of the Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism and the origins of Christianity.  The two foci of my research are canon research and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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

CV

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Qualifications

DPhil (Oxon), MPhil (Oxon), MCS (Regent), BA (UBC)

Responsibilities & affiliations

General Editor, the Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: OUP)

Membership: Society of Biblical Literature, American Schools of Oriental Research, and Society for Old Testament Study.

Undergraduate teaching

Teaching Responsibilities: 

  • Moses & the Torah (Pentateuch)
  • Leviticus
  • Habakkuk
  • The Song of Songs
  • Bible and Archaeology
  • Judaism in the Graeco-Roman Period The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Early Jewish Texts
  • Intermediate Hebrew
  • Advanced Hebrew
  • Aramaic

Postgraduate teaching

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls 
  • Selected Topics
  • Advanced Hebrew
  • Aramaic 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise students interested in the Hebrew BIble and Early Judaism, including the Dead Sea Scolls and Christian origins.  

Current PhD students supervised

My current students are researching on Hebrew linguistics, literary aspects of prophetic oracles and wisdom writings.

Past PhD students supervised

Selection of past students supervised:

Chris Lee (2018): "For in the Day that You Eat of It, You Shall Surely Die.  The Early Reception History of the Death Warning in Genesis 2:17" to be published by De Gruyter.

Kengo Akiyama (2015): published The Love of Neighbour in Ancient Judaism.  Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity Series.  Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Michael Glasby: published Wholeness & Holiness.  Medicine, Disease, Purity and the Levitical Priesthood.  London: Apollos, 2017.

John Starr: published Classifying the Aramaic Texts from Qumran: A Statistical Analysis of Linguistic Features.  London: Bloomsbury, 2017.

Caroline Blyth: published The Narrative of Rape in Genesis 34: Interpreting Dinah's Silence.  Oxford: OUP, 2010.

David M. Allen: published Deuteronomy and Exhortation in Hebrews.  WUNT.  Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. 

Research summary

I have wide ranging interests that span across traditional scholarly boundaries of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Samaritan Pentateuch, New Testament, Qumran, Septuagint, Josephus, Philo, and Rabbinics.  A historical approach cannot be confined by fields constructed primarily for scholarly convenience.  The two foci of my publications are canon research and the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I am interested in the development and emergence of collections of authoritative scriptures in ancient Israel and early Judaism.  What led to the valorization of certain writings, and not others, as "holy scriptures"?  What influence did the cultural and political milieux have on various Jewish communities and their construction of “the bible"?  The Dead Sea Scrolls constitute particularly important evidence for these canonical processes.

Current research interests

I have recently completed a commentary on an ancient commentary from the Dead Sea Scrolls called the Habakkuk Pesher or Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab) for the Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (http://www.ocdss.div.ed.ac.uk/). This is the first major study of the scroll for forty years. Using the latest digitised images, I have produced a new edition of the text, suggesting new readings, reconstructions and correcting errors of previous editions. A fresh English translation accompanies the Hebrew text, along with detailed notes on the palaeography, grammar, interpretative techniques, and historical allusions to the Romans and the Hasmonean high priests. The body of the volume consists of "Notes" and "Comments", providing a running discussion of columns 1 to 13. At the head of this volume is an introduction, setting the present work in its scholarly context by describing the purpose, redaction, interpretative character, and historical circumstances.

Past research interests

Several of my previous publications focused on the use of the Old Testament in the New, especially on Paul the Pharisees' citation of the uniform text, the Septuagint, Hebrew texts (MT and others), and his own translation.

Knowledge exchange

My popular book, The Dead Sea Scrolls.  A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP), first (2005) and second (2017) editions, has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Arabic, Dutch, Korean and Portuguese.  Audio Book of the first edition was published by Audible.com (Amazon).  Second edition (2017), translation into French and Italian.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy", Ancient Near East Today (http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2017/03/dead-sea-scrolls)

"Understanding the Emergence of the Jewish Canon" Ancient Jew Review (http://www.ancientjewreview.com/articles/2015/12/1/understanding-the-emergence-of-the-jewish-canon)

"Canonical Process Reconsidered", Ancient Near East Today (http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2018/04/The-Canonical-Process-Reconsidered)

"Contemporary Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls" OUP Blog (https://blog.oup.com/2017/04/contemporary-significance-dead-sea-scrolls/)

 

Research activities

View all 12 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 Scrolls (OUP).  

View all 74 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker

Invited plenary paper, entitled "The Erotic Reading of the Song of Songs in the Pre-Modern Period",  for the IInternational Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (Aberdeen), 4-9 August 2019.