James C. VanderKam

James C.  VanderKam
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Endowed Professor, John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures
  • Residential Fellow (2013-2014)
  • "A Commentary on the Book of Jubilees"

James VanderKam is the John A. O’Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame and specializes in the literature and history of early Judaism.  His research in the last twenty years has focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls and related texts.

A member of the editorial committee that prepared the scrolls for publication, Professor VanderKam is the editor of thirteen volumes in the official series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert. He is one of the two editors-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (2000). His prize-winning book, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (1994), which has been translated into six languages, appeared in a second edition in 2010.

His most recent books include a collection of essays entitled From Revelation to Canon: Studies in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature (2000),An Introduction to Early Judaism (2001), The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls (2002), From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile (2004), 1 Enoch 2 (2012), and The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (2012). He has also edited seven volumes of essays and published approximately 150 articles in international conference volumes and leading journals such as Journal of Biblical LiteratureZeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche WissenschaftVetus TestaentumCathoic Biblical QuarterlyRevue de Qumran, and Dead Sea Discoveries. He served for six years as the general editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature and sits on the editorial boards of Dead Sea Discoveries and several series. He has served on the Council of the Society of Biblical Literature and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation.

Included among his honors are numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and his presentation of the Speaker’s Lectures (six lectures) at Oxford University in 2009.


  • Jubilees: A Commentary in Two Volumes

    Fortress Press, 2018

    James C. VanderKam

    Vanderkam Jubilees Crop

    Jubilees—so called because of its concern with marking forty-nine-year periods (or “jubilees”) in Israel’s history—is an ancient rewriting of Genesis and the first part of Exodus from the point of view of an anonymous second-century BCE Jewish author. Its distinctive perspective-as well as its apparent popularity at Qumran-make it particularly important for any reconstruction of early Judaism. James C. VanderKam, the world’s foremost authority on Jubilees, offers a new translation based on his own critical editions of all the available textual evidence, including the Hebrew fragments preserved at Qumran (which he first published in Discoveries in the Judean Desert, vol. 13), as well as the first full running commentary on the book in the English language. Jubilees approaches the book as a rewriting of scripture but also as a literary work in its own right. The commentary explains the text and the teachings of the author with comprehensive coverage of the modern scholarship devoted to them. The introduction sets the book in its second-century BCE context, traces its sources in the Bible and in other early Jewish texts, and describes its influence on Jewish and Christian writers.

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