BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly


Yigael Yadin


Mormon studies, forum, Herod, Masada, archaeology


From 1963 to 1977, before Professor Yigael Yadin entered politics and became Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, he held the most distinguished chair of archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a chair which was established in the name of his father, Professor E. L. Sukenik, who was in his own right a noted archaeologist and linguist and who performed the initial work on three of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Cave 1 at Qumran. An indication of the remarkable abilities of Professor Yadin can be seen in his notable military career. Without receiving any formal military training, he rose through the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces to become the Chief of Staff when Israel became a state. All that he learned about military affairs he learned on his own through reading and by practical experience, a remarkable record considering the fact that he retired from the army as a Lieutenant General.

Professor Yadin became Israel's foremost field archaeologist, having conducted extensive excavations at Hazor, Megiddo, and Masada. The last site forms the focus of the following forum address delivered in 1976. In addition, during his life he distinguished himself as one of the foremost scholars of the Dead Sea scrolls. He edited and published a number of these texts, including his three-volume work on the Temple Scroll, published in both Hebrew and English.

Dr. Yadin was the recipient of numerous awards; among them, he delivered the Schweich lectures of the British Academy and, just before coming to BYU, he delivered the prestigious Haskell lectures at Oberlin College. In addition, he received four honorary doctorate degrees.

The following piece I have edited with a light touch. Professor Yadin delivered this illustrated lecture at BYU on May 4, 1976.