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Biblical Archaeology Review 3:2, June 1977

Pere de Vaux and the Old Testament

By Thomas Aquinas Collins

After almost forty years of intense Biblical research and teaching, Roland de Vaux, O.P. died in Jerusalem, on September 10, 1971. The world of Biblical scholarship mourned the passing of one of its most illustrious colleagues. Père de Vaux was a professor of Old Testament at the École Biblique, Jerusalem, from 1934 to 1971. In 1945 he became director of the school, a post he held for twenty years. During these most productive years de Vaux’s name became indissolubly linked with studies in the Patriarchal period, in ancient Israel’s life and institutions, in the books of Genesis, Samuel, and Kings, and in the study of Old Testament sacrifice. When the Qumran Scrolls were found in the Judean wilderness, Père de Vaux was chosen to head the international team of scholars assembled to study and edit the Scrolls. As a field archaeologist he was involved in the expeditions at Tell el-Far’ah (North) (1946–1960); Qumran and the Dead Sea Scroll caves (1949–1958); the Joint Expedition in Jerusalem with the British School of Archaeology (1961–1963); and a dig begun just a month before he died at Tell Kisan, north of Haifa.

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