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Re: Oxford UP DSS CD-ROM

I have just received the posting from Hans van der-Meij of Brill and hope
that I have not caused offence in any way. The problem as I see it remains
still unsolved however even by a reduction of a thousand pounds for
individual users (from the 2,500 with which I was clearly misinformed and
for which I apologise).

At present I am studying the scrolls, pesher Habakkuk in particular and
some of the newer texts, as part ofcourse culminating in a dissertation in
the summer, for an MA at Durham - I am the only person doing this course,
and indeed the course has been very much structured around my wishes. As
such the university is unlikely to part with such an expense of money for
a mere selection of individuals both now and in the future. The funding is
in such dire straits in all British universities that money is simply not
available to cater for so few. 

Yet as has been pointed out by earlier postings, the CD Rom is likely to
prove indispensable to those in the field, and those without access to
such facilities will it seems inevitably fall behind the pace of modern
scholarship. The net result of this would appear to be that individuals
pursuing theses etc will be almost required to purchase the software in
advance of starting their research. This will place an even greater strain
on the resources of the individuals concerned and lead to a drop in future
students of the field.

Of course there remains the resource of the microfiche edition of the
scrolls, but these are in black and white and allow for none of the more
complex zooms and focuses with which, I assume, the CDs are equipped. In
short, then, the field of Qumran scholarship is likely to contract rather
than expand, and many members of departments of underfunded universities
will, I suspect, find that they are forced in to moving to better
equipped better funded, though perhaps less academic institutions in order
to complete research - all through the sheer necessity of finance. 

It is a bleak scenario, and one not wholly centred on the pricing of an
individual piece of software. Indeed were there a better funding situation
especially in the UK much of the problems outlined above would never come
to fruition, and doubtless due to greater numbers of orders the price of
the CDs would not be so exorbitant. None of this of course reflects on the
quality of the CDs themselves and indeed the outcry against the price
itself reflcets the enthusiasm with which they are greeted. But that said,
I shall have to do without this summer, and hope that any research is not

Once again apologies for Brill for any offence caused, and I hope that
from this posting my consternation is easier to understand.

Marcus Wood
Department of Theology
University of Durham