Vaux, Roland de°

views updated


VAUX, ROLAND DE ° (1903–1971), biblical scholar and archaeologist. Born in Paris, he became a member of the Dominican Order in 1929. From 1945 to 1965 De Vaux served as director of the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, where he was professor of Palestinian archaeology from 1934. From 1938 to 1953 he was the editor of the Revue Biblique, in which he has written most of his articles, and from 1947 on he was editor in chief of the Bible de Jérusalem. Having played one of the leading roles in the Qumran discoveries, he was also the editor in chief of Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (1955– ). De Vaux began his archaeological career at Maʿin (biblical BethBaal-Meon) in 1937 and successively carried out excavations at Abu-Gosh (1944); Tell el Farʿah (1946–1960), which he identified with biblical *Tirzah; Qumran and ʿAin Feshkha (1949–58); Murabbaʿat (1952); and Jerusalem (1961–63).

In his books as well as in his articles, he always sought to combine the rigorous use of the "internal criticism" of the biblical traditions together with the criticism of the "external evidence of the Bible." Thus, for him, as a biblical scholar, archaeology is primarily a tool of biblical investigation and will, occasionally, bring an "external confirmation" to the traditions recorded in the written sources. But as an independent discipline, archaeology purports only to study the material remains of the past, and its results do not always have a direct bearing on the Bible. His major work, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (trans. from French, 2 vols. 1961, 1965), is a good illustration of this methodology.

His books include: Les Fouilles à Qaryet el-ʿEnab Abu-Gosh (with M. Stève, 1950); L'Archéologie et les Manuscrits de la Mer Morte (1961); Die hebraeischen Patriarchen und die modernen Entdeckungen (1959; first appeared in French in Revue Biblique, vols. 53, 55, 56); Studies in Old Testament Sacrifice (1964); and Bible et Orient (1967). The first volume of his Histoire ancienne d'Israël (Des origines à l'installation en Canaan) was published posthumously along with the first five chapters of the uncompleted second volume (La période des juges).

[Jean Ouellette]