Schiffman, Lawrence H.
SCHIFFMAN, LAWRENCE H.
SCHIFFMAN, LAWRENCE H. (1948– ), U.S. Judaic scholar. Born in New York and educated at Brandeis University (B.A., M.A. 1970, Ph.D. 1974), Schiffman taught at the University of Minnesota (1971–72), Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York (1975–79, 1983, and 1986), and from 1972 at New York University, where he was named Edelman Professor and chairman and director of undergraduate studies of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He was a visiting professor at Yale, Ben-Gurion, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Toronto, and other universities, and lectured widely at universities and other public forums. Schiffman was the program director of nyu's excavations at Tel Dor, in conjunction with The Hebrew University and the Israel Exploration Society (1980–83), and was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1989–90). He served on the editorial board of the journal Dead Sea Discoveries from 1994. He was a fellow of the Association for Jewish Studies, the American Academy for Jewish Research, the Society for Biblical Literature (Qumran Section), and the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, among other scholarly and professional associations. He was a member of the editorial board for the Oxford Dead Sea Scrolls publication project Discoveries in the Judean Desert from 1991 until its completion in 2002 and co-edited the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (with J.C. VanderKam, 2000). He was one of the organizers, and a director, of the Friedberg Genizah Project (1999–2002). He was the recipient of numerous grants for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Cairo Genizah texts.
Schiffman is a leading scholarly authority on early post-biblical Judaism, with a particular interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is known not only to the scholarly community but to the general public, having been featured in several television documentaries on the Qumran discoveries. Schiffman's major work, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls (1994), argues that the Qumran community was founded by a schismatic Sadducean sect, rather than by a (proto-Christian) group of Essenes, and that not all the texts originated at Qumran. Among his other books are The Halakhah at Qumran (1975), Sectarian Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Courts, Testimony, and the Penal Code (1983), Who Was a Jew? Rabbinic and Halakhic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism (1985), From Text to Tradition: A History of Judaism in Second Temple and Rabbinic Times (with Michael Swartz, 1989), The Eschatological Community of the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Study of the Rule of the Congregation (1989), Hebrew and Aramaic Incantation Texts from the Cairo Genizah (1992), Halakhah, Halikhah U-Meshiḥiyyut bi-Megillot Midbar Yehudah (Law, Custom, and Messianism in the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1993), and Texts and Traditions: A Source Reader for the Study of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (1998). He also edited a number of volumes of scholarly papers and essays and published many scholarly articles and reviews.
[Drew Silver (2nd ed.)]