The Utopian Temple Plan of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Start: Jun 03, 2013 06:00 PM

Location: Archaeology Lecture Theatre, G6

Model of Jerusalem

The Institute of Archaeology and Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society will jointly host a lecture by Lawrence Schiffman (Yeshiva University) at the Institute on 3 June.

The lecture is titled ‘The Utopian Temple Plan of the Dead Sea Scrolls’, and takes as its starting point one of the texts from this group, known as the Temple Scroll. The lecture will be preceded by the AIAS Annual General Meeting, commencing at 5.15 pm. 


The Temple Scroll rewrites much of the Pentateuch, setting out a utopian Temple plan for a gargantuan Temple extending over virtually all of what was then the city of Jerusalem. In addition, this scroll provided detailed prescriptions for the offering of sacrifices and other Temple rituals. This illustrated lecture will examine the architecture of the Temple complex, giving careful attention to the various structures, their purposes, and the manner in which they can be traced in biblical literature.


The speaker, Lawrence H. Schiffman, is currently Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University; previously he taught for thirty nine years at New York University, where he was Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. A specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism in Late Antiquity, the history of Jewish law, and Talmudic literature, and the director of New York University’s program at the archaeological excavations at Dor, Israel, from 1980-1982, he is the author of many articles and books, including, most recently, The Courtyards of the House of the Lord: Studies on the Temple Scroll (2008) and Qumran and Jerusalem: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism (2010). He has featured in many TV documentaries on PBS and on the BBC and has lectured widely in universities, academic conferences, and for community organizations.