Józef Milik

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Józef Tadeusz Milik (Seroczyn, Poland, March 24, 1922 – Paris, January 6, 2006) was a Polish biblical scholar and a Catholic priest. Besides his native Polish, he was fluent in Russian, Italian, French, German, and English plus many ancient languages Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Syriac, Old Church Slavonic, Arabic, Georgian, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Sumerian, Egyptian, and Hittite. Milik published more texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) than any other original team member.


He was born into a peasant family in a small village in central Poland. His father, despite being a farmer, was interested in science, educated himself and gathered a rich library. He influenced his son, who finished the gymnasium in Siedlce and later entered the theological college in Płock in 1939. When the college was closed by Germans after they invaded Poland, he moved to Warsaw. After the World War II, he studied at Catholic University of Lublin and in 1946 was ordained a priest.

Józef Milik deciphered hundreds of the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a member of the publication team. He started translating and publishing them in the early 1950s while a student at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. [1]

Then he joined Roland de Vaux’s team and helped to discover Cave 3, excavated and unearthed hundreds of fragments from Cave 4, and took part in the discovery and excavations of Caves 5 and 6. He would later become one of the most essential participants of the translation and publication team.


After moving to Paris, Milik worked as a researcher for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique until his retirement in 1987.