Millar Burrows

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Millar Burrows (Wyoming, Ohio, October 26, 1889 – April 29, 1980) was an American biblical scholar, a leading authority on the Dead Sea scrolls and professor emeritus at Yale Divinity School.[1] Burrows was director of American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (now the William F. Albright School of Archaeological Research),[2] and later president of the American Schools of Oriental Research.[3] His grandson, Edwin G. Burrows (1943–2018), was an American historian and winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1999).[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Burrows was born on October 26, 1889 in Wyoming, Ohio.[5] He was one of three sons born to Edwin Jones, a businessman, and Katharine Douglas (Millar) Burrows.[6] He studied at Cornell University, graduating in 1912.[7] He then attended the Union Theological Seminary, New York to train for ordination, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree in 1915.[5]

While working as a minister, Burrows also undertook part-time graduate studies. He studied for his doctorate at Yale University under Charles Cutler Torrey, and he graduated in 1925. His dissertation was titled "The Literary Relations of Ezekiel".[5]


Ordained ministry[edit]

In 1915, Burrows was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church.[7] Then, from 1915 to 1919, he ministered at a rural church in Texas.[5] For the next year he supervised a survey for the Texas Interchurch World Movement.[5] From 1920 to 1923, he was a pastor and taught the Bible at Tusculum College in Tennessee.[5][7]

Academic career[edit]

Burrows was internationally known for his prompt editing of the Dead Sea manuscripts of Cave One,[8][9] and was able to communicate the results of research in language understandable to the public.[10] Burrows gave working names to several of the scrolls, such as the "Manual of Discipline" to 1QS.[11] Burrows worked on the Isaiah scroll,[12] pointing out its consistency with the Masoretic text.[13]

Burrows also wrote on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. On the Bible he once noted that it is concerned with three subjects: religion, agriculture, and war.[14]


  • Founders of Great Religions 1931
  • An Outline of Biblical Theology 1946
  • Palestine is Our Business 1949
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls 1955
  • More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls 1958
  • Jesus in the first three Gospels 1977


  1. ^ Craig A. Evans Holman QuickSource Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls 2010
  2. ^ The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk William Hugh Brownlee – 1979 "... when Dr. John C. Trever and I were Fellows of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, and Professor Millar Burrows was the Director. On February 21, 1948, four ancient manuscripts came to the School for photography, ..."
  3. ^ Archaeological newsletter American Schools of Oriental Research – 1970 "Our list of Corporate Members grew steadily without solicitation and, in my year as "Field Secretary" in 1938, when Millar Burrows was President, I was simply overwhelmed by the amount of time several people took from their own full ..."
  4. ^ "Papers of Edwin G. Burrows > ArchivesUM". Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Pope, Marvin H. (Spring 1981). "Millar Burrows, 1889–1980, In Memoriam". The Biblical Archaeologist. 44 (2): 116–121. doi:10.1086/BIBLARCH3209867. JSTOR 3209867. S2CID 166422683.
  6. ^ Current biography yearbook: Volume 17. H. W. Wilson Company. 1957. Millar Burrows was born in Ohio in the town of Wyoming (now a part of Cincinnati ) on October 26, 1889. He is one of the three sons of Edwin Jones and Katharine Douglas (Millar) Burrows. His father was a businessman.
  7. ^ a b c "From Martha Mitchell's Encyclopedia Brunoniana: Burrows, Millar". Brown University. 1993. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ American archaeology in the mideast Philip J. King – 1983 "... he acquired them for Hebrew University from an Armenian friend who was a dealer in antiquities.6 Millar Burrows Millar Burrows was internationally known and appreciated for his prompt editing of the Dead Sea manuscripts of Cave One, ..."
  9. ^ Obituary (subscription required) "On Burrow’s death, another Dead Sea Scroll scholar, David Noel Freedman of the University of Michigan, observed that “Burrows deserved a halo and a medal for publishing the great Isaiah Scroll within two years of its discovery.” Many manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls are still unpublished after more than 30 years."
  10. ^ Solving the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls: new light on the Bible – p. 20 Edward M. Cook – 1994 "Millar Burrows was not himself an archaeologist, but a specialist in the Old Testament. He had, however, a happy talent for communicating the results of modern research in language understandable to the public."
  11. ^ Old Testament textual criticism: a practical introduction – p. 89 Ellis R. Brotzman – 1994 " The first, initially called Manual of Discipline by Millar Burrows, was found on two different scroll portions (separated prior to discovery).8 This scroll, now designated as 1QS, preserves 11 columns of text on a scroll 6.5 feet long ..."
  12. ^ Secrets of the Dead Sea scrolls – p. 42 Randall Price – 1996 "Trever was serving as interim director of the school while Director Millar Burrows was away in Baghdad, and made the decision to view the Scrolls in the director's absence. Upon seeing the Scrolls, especially the Great Isaiah Scroll, ..."
  13. ^ A social and religious history of the Jews: Volume 1 Salo Wittmayer Baron – 1952 "Millar Burrows was right in early pointing out "the remarkable fact that there is nothing [in it] which can be called a major addition or omission, comparable to the additions and omissions to be found in the Septuagint, for example."
  14. ^ Perspectives on war in the Bible – p. 3 John A. Wood – 1998 "Millar Burrows was correct when he observed years ago that the Bible is concerned with three subjects: religion, agriculture, and war. In noting the now-lost "Book of the Wars of Yahweh" mentioned in Numbers 21:14, Burrows goes so far ..."