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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

May 2004


Friends of Orion Center Honored by the Hebrew University

Two staunch supporters of the Orion Center are being honored by the Hebrew University at the Board of Governors meeting, June 4-9, 2004.

David Wollach, of Geneva, Switzerland, is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University. Mr. Wollach serves as a Governor of the Orion Foundation,* which has generously funded the Orion Center since it opened in 1995. He is the President of the Geneva chapter of the University's Swiss Friends, and he has been influential in establishing broad-based Swiss support for the Orion Center and for other University projects, including the Zwi Herman Wollach Center for Physiology in the HU Faculty of Agriculture. Mr. Wollach is also active in a number of international organizations that assist refugees, disadvantaged children, and other at-risk populations, in Europe, the former Soviet bloc, and Israel.

Michael Dunkel, of Sydney, Australia, is to be named an Honorary Fellow of the University. Mr. Dunkel is President of the New South Wales branch of the University's Australian Friends, and serves as Honorary Solicitor. In 1986, he was instrumental in establishing the Orion Foundation, of which he continues to serve as a Governor. Mr. Dunkel is also a long-time trustee of the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, which sponsors research projects in diverse disciplines at the University of Sydney and the Hebrew University, including the Orion Center. Mr. Dunkel has forged strong ties between the Orion Center and the Australian Friends, who, together with the British Friends, will be participating in a special Center-sponsored tour of Qumran during the upcoming Board of Governors Meeting.

The Orion Center, with the rest of the University community, applauds Mr. Wollach and Mr. Dunkel for their tireless and dedicated efforts on behalf of the Hebrew University and the international community, and congratulates them at this hour of recognition.

* The Orion Foundation strives to promote projects across a broad range of fields, including humanitarian, scientific, research and archaeological endeavors, often through joint ventures and matching arrangements. The Orion Foundation was the original sponsor of the Orion Center, and has maintained its support since the Center's inception.


Canadian Friends Assist Virtual Qumran

The Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University have made a significant contribution to the Orion Center by raising, through an anonymous donation, matching funds for the on-line Virtual Qumran project, which has been supported since its conception by the Dorot Foundation.

Over the past two years, close ties have evolved between the Orion Center and the Canadian Friends. Dr. Esther Chazon has lectured in Toronto and Ottawa; last year, the Center and the Canadian Friends collaborated in arranging the first Board of Governors Qumran Tour. We extend our hearty thanks to the Canadian Friends for their partnership in working towards the Center's goals.


Visiting Scholar at the Orion Center

From January until mid-May, Prof. Dwight Swanson, of Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manchester, England spent a research sabbatical at the Orion Center, as the first long-term visiting user of our new Scholars' Room. During his sabbatical he studied the question of scriptural authority in the Qumran texts. In particular he searched the texts for clues as to which scriptures were regarded as authoritative, and how these documents were treated.

While at the Center, Prof. Swanson shared some of his findings in a Greenfield Scholars Seminar. He will give a more extensive presentation of his research at the upcoming July conference of the International Organization for Qumran Studies in Groningen. He expects to complete a monograph on this subject for publication next year.


Ninth Symposium Marks New
Intra-University Collaboration
by Ruth Clements

* The Orion Foundation strives to promote projects across a broad range of fields, including humanitarian, scientific, research and archaeological endeavors, often through joint ventures and matching arrangements. The Orion Foundation was the original sponsor of the Orion Center, and has maintained its support since the Center's inception.


Orion Gathering Salutes Michael Stone

Orion Center founder, Prof. Michael Stone, was honored during the Ninth Orion International Symposium with the presentation of a collection of essays entitled Things Revealed: Studies in Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Michael E. Stone. The volume brings together articles written by Prof. Stone's close colleagues and students. Topics include Jewish and Christian apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works; Dead Sea Scrolls; Philo of Alexandria; and early Christianity. The book was edited jointly by Orion Center Director Esther Chazon, David Satran, who serves on the Academic Committees of both the Orion Center and the HU Center for the Study of Christianity, and Ruth Clements, Orion Center Head of Publications.

Prof. Stone was taken completely by surprise when Prof. Harold Attridge of Yale University, a former student and long-time colleague, announced the volume at the Symposium dinner. Dr. Nira Stone, Prof. Stone's wife, who was involved in planning the volume, was present; Prof. Stone's brother, Prof. Jonathan Stone, of the University of Sydney and the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, made the long journey from Australia to pay tribute.

Drs. Chazon and Satran, in their presentation speech, noted that, although Prof. Stone's impressive list of publications was indeed significant for the field of Second Temple Jewish literature, no less important is his "creation of intense, rewarding interpersonal frameworks of scholarship." Because he "ultimately views scholarship as a powerfully social process," Prof. Stone has created an extensive web of contacts with students as well as senior colleagues, in university and organizational frameworks both in Israel and abroad. The Orion Center, developing connections with Scrolls scholars in a number of countries and with scholars from a wide variety of other disciplines as well, stands as a quintessential example of Stone's collaborative style and aims.

Both the collection itself, including contributions from places as distant as Europe, North America and Australia, and the festive dinner at which the tribute was offered, reflect this broad collegial camaraderie. We at the Orion Center congratulate Prof. Stone on his achievements and wish him continued good health and success, עד 120.


Things Revealed: Studies in Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Michael E. Stone is forthcoming from E. J. Brill, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 88, 2004.


New Perspectives on Old Texts: The Tenth Annual Orion International Symposium, January 9-11, 2005

Papers will provide a state-of-the-question view of current Scrolls scholarship, add broad new perspectives on major issues, and set the agenda for future research. See our website for further details and breaking news.

January Symposium Spurs Dialogue

On January 11-13, 2004, the Orion Center, in cooperation with the HU Center for the Study of Christianity, hosted the Ninth International Orion Symposium, "Text, Thought, and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity." Participants from Israel and abroad brought together varied expertise in Qumran, Second Temple studies, or the New Testament, to re-evaluate some long-standing assumptions about how we should understand the relationship between the Qumran community and the earliest Christians.

Prof. Harold Attridge of Yale University delivered the keynote address, "The Scrolls and Johannine Christianity," assessing the scholarly tendency to link the Scrolls directly to materials found in the Fourth Gospel. In the round table discussion that concluded the symposium, participants agreed that a direct line from the Qumran community to early Christian groups is less probable than originally imagined; instead, more emphasis should be placed on these communities' shared cultural context.


Orion Center Calendar-2004

March 3: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars Seminar
12:15-2:00 p.m. Dr. Noah Hacham (Orion Center Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2003-2004): Purim of Shushan and Purim of Alexandria: From 3 Maccabees to the Book of Esther. Rabin Building, Room 2001/2 (in Hebrew).

March 29: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars Seminar
12:15-2:00 p.m. Prof. Dwight D. Swanson (Nazarene Theological College, Manchester, England; Orion Visiting Scholar, Spring 2004): Literary Clues for Recognizing 'Scriptural' Texts. Rabin Building, Room 2001/2 (in English).

May 5: Rothberg International School Lecture
5:00 p.m. Dr. Esther Chazon (Director, Orion Center): The Dead Sea Scrolls in their Historical Context. Boyar Building, Room 513 (in English).

May 12: Coffee Hour Presentation
12:15-2:00 p.m. Mr. Eyal ben Eliahu (Hebrew University, Dept. of Jewish History; Orion Center Grant Recipient, 2003): The Borders of the Land in Second Temple Literature. Rabin Building, Room 2001/2 (in Hebrew).

June 16: Coffee Hour Discussion
12:15-1:30 p.m. The Orion Center-The Next Ten Years, chaired by Dr. Esther Chazon, Orion Center Director. Rabin Building, Room 2001/2 (in Hebrew).