An independent researcher and original thinker, Russell Gmirkin has investigated some of the most important unsolved problems of modern biblical scholarship. Gmirkin has published significant articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls, but he is perhaps best known for his research on the late date and Greek sources of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and its laws. His 2006 book called Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch was one of the first to discuss specific Greek sources used by the biblical authors. His latest book, Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible, identifies Plato’s Laws as perhaps the most influential such Greek text, a source for many of the Laws of Moses and for the very notion of an approved national literature (the Bible).
Some of the key innovations found in Gmirkin’s writings include the identification of the authors of the Pentateuch (Genesis–Deuteronomy) as the same group of Jewish scholars that tradition said translated these books into Greek for the Great Library of Alexandria around 270 BCE; the model of a collaborative composition of the Pentateuch by Samaritan and Jewish legislators, storytellers, poets and priests under official governmental oversight and direction; the identification of various late Greek sources by the biblical authors, including Plato (350 BCE), Manetho (285 BCE), Berossus (278 BCE) and others; and the model of the creation of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as an ethical national literature assembled and approved according to directions laid out in Plato’s Laws.
Gmirkin lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Carolyn Tracy, a talented writer, actress, torch singer, comedienne, and conversationalist extraordinaire.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Dating and historical context of the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially the War Scroll; dating and historical context of the biblical text, especially the Pentateuch; biblical source criticism; Greek sources used by the biblical authors; comparative studies on ancient Greek, Ancient Near Eastern and biblical laws, prophecy, science and cosmogony; Greek philosophy and literature; pseudepigrapha and apocrypha; Jewish Second Temple history.