Obituary: Prof. Philip R. Davies

Shalom Berger's picture

H-Judaic is saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Philip R. Davies (1945-2018),  British biblical scholar and archaeologistProfessor Emeritus of biblical studies at the University of Sheffield, England; past Director for the Centre for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls; and  Publisher and Editorial director of Sheffield Academic Press.  Professor Davies wrote numerous books on the Bible and the Scrolls, including THE COMPLETE WORLD OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, a volume on QUMRAN, a book on canonization, IN SEARCH OF 'ANCIENT ISRAEL', and more (see  He was associated with the so-called "Copenhagen School" of Biblical scholarship.   

Sheffield has posted the following, which Menachem Butler kindly brought to our attention:

We have received the sad news that Professor Emeritus Philip R Davies has passed away. Prof Davies was Professor Emeritus at the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) as well as a long-standing member of staff in the former Department of Biblical Studies here at the University of Sheffield.

He was the Director of the Centre for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was also publisher and editorial director of Sheffield Academic Press. Together with David Clines, he edited the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament and its Supplement Series.

Throughout his career, Prof Davies published numerous books and articles on ancient Israelite history and religion, including:

1QM: the War Scroll from Qumran: Its Structure and History (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1977)

The Damascus Document (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1982)

Daniel (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985)

Scribes and Schools (Westminster John Knox, 1998)

In Search Of "Ancient Israel" (London and New York: T. & T. Clark 1992)

Whose Bible Is It Anyway? (London and New York: T. & T. Clark Ltd. 2004)

Professor Davies will be remembered for his ground-breaking scholarship in Biblical Studies.

The funeral will be held in private (family only). There will be a celebration in his memory at a later time. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

See also the Wikipedia article on Prof. Davies,


We extend deepest condolences to his family members and students.


Jonathan D. Sarna

Chair, H-Judaic