Eleazar Sukenik, 1951
|Born||12 August 1889
|Died||28 February 1953
|Institutions||Hebrew University in Jerusalem|
In addition to his important excavations in Jerusalem (including the "Third Wall" and numerous ossuary tombs) he played a central role in the establishment of the Department of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. He recognized the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Israel and worked for the Israeli state to buy them. In 1948, he published an article tentatively linking the scrolls and their content to a community of Essenes, which became the standard interpretation of the origin of the scrolls, a theory that is still probably the consensus among scholars, but has also been widely questioned.
He and his wife, Chassia, are buried in the Sanhedria Cemetery near the Tombs of the Sanhedrin which he researched. Unlike the other graves in the cemetery, which are covered by uniform limestone blocks, the couple's gravestones are uniquely decorated with carvings and motifs of the Second Temple era.
- Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece (Schweich Lectures of the British Academy for 1930). London, 1934.
- The Third Wall of Jerusalem: An Account of Excavations. Jerusalem: University Press, 1930
- The Ancient Synagogue of Beth Alpha. An Account of the Excavations conducted on behalf of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Oxford University Press: London, 1932.
- Samaria-Sebaste Reports of the Work of the Joint Expedition in 1931-1933, and of the British Expedition in 1935. London, 3 volumes 1938, 1942, 1957.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Hebrew University. Magnes Press, Hebrew University: Jerusalem, 1955.
- "I read a few sentences. It was written in beautiful Biblical Hebrew. The language was like that of the Psalms.' One of these was the Isaiah scroll, which I saw recently in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem: sections of goat-skin parchment, sewn together, 27 feet long. I felt in the presence of something numinous, although I have been a convinced atheist since boyhood. But this document is a testament to the inexplicable persistence of the human mind, in the face of all the evidence, in believing that we are on earth for a divine purpose." Eleazar Sukenik, quoted in Justin Cartwright, 'The indestructible power of belief', The Guardian, 27 May 2000, Saturday Pages, Pg. 3.
- "Introduction to the Reprint" in Sukenik, Eleazar Lipa. The Ancient Synagogue of Beth Alpha: An Account of the Excavations Conducted on Behalf of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 1975: Gorgias Press, ISBN 1593330782, p. v.
Further reading 
- Goldman, Bernard, The Sacred Portal: a primary symbol in ancient Judaic art, Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1966. A book on an important synagogue mosaic discovered by Sukenik in 1928.