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The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature
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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

May 2005

Welcome Orion Governors

The Orion Center extends a hearty welcome to the governors of the Orion Foundation, who are convening in Jerusalem this June in conjunction with celebrations for the tenth anniversary of the Orion Center and the annual Hebrew University Board of Governors meeting. The program includes a Friday morning presentation of the Center with contributions from our grant recipients, student research assistants, and members of our Academic Committee. We at the Center, and our colleagues throughout the world who benefit from the Center's program and website are ever so grateful to the Orion Foundation for their most generous on-going support, and we wish the Governors a marvelous stay in Jerusalem.

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Orion Center Academic Committee
Prof. Michael Stone, Chair
Dr. Esther Chazon, Director
Prof. Isaiah Gafni
Prof. Deborah Gera
Prof. Avi Hurvitz
Prof. Menahem Kister
Prof. Joseph Patrich
Prof. Shalom Paul
Dr. David Satran
Prof. Daniel Schwart
Prof. Avigdor Shinan
Prof. Emanuel Tov

Tenth Annual International Orion Symposium

On January 9-11, 2005 the Orion Center hosted the Tenth International Orion Symposium on “New Perspectives on Old Texts.” Participants from around the world shared their approaches to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In the opening lecture, Prof. Moshe Bernstein discussed the editiones princepes (first editions) of Qumran texts in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series and their influence upon future editions. Continuing this theme, Prof. Emanuel Tov focused upon the various text editions of the Hebrew Bible unearthed in the Judaean Desert .

Several lectures were devoted to the books of Jubilees and Enoch, which belong to the corpus of Second Temple period literature. Dr. Paul Mandel proposed a different meaning for the word “scribe,” which is used to describe Enoch in the Book of Enoch and in Jubilees. According to his suggestion, the word could signify an ambassador, envoy, spokesman or interpreter. Dr. Michael Segal addressed another aspect of Jubilees – the interaction between angels and humans cited in Jubilees 5, based upon Genesis 6. By demonstrating the dependence of this passage on Enoch 10-11, Segal solved various interpretative difficulties. Dr. Eyal Regev traced the development of the Qumran movement through Enoch and Jubilees. He pointed out that the Qumran community shares many social and halakhic characteristics of these texts.

Prof. Bilhah Nitzan explored how the theology of the Qumran sect influenced the education of children and adults. Dr. Vered Noam demonstrated how the passage known as David's Compositions in the Psalms Scroll, transformed a passage dealing with the lunar calendar to the context of the solar calendar.

Another thrust of the symposium lectures involved Jewish law. Dr. Cana Werman discussed the extent to which Qumran priestly halakhah conforms to biblical law regarding concepts of purity and impurity, sacrifices, and intentional and unintentional sin. Prof. Michael Daise discussed the degree to which ritual was actually practiced at Qumran . Prof. Martha Himmelfarb dealt with the priestly halakhah at Qumran in contrast to that of the Pharisees. According to her analysis, waiting until sundown for the restoration of purity does not reflect a polemic with the Pharisees but rather a different interpretation of Leviticus. Prof. Sarianna Metso argued that religious legislation in ancient Jewish communities was not based primarily on the Bible but rather on the exigencies of communal life. The communal oath in the communities of Ezra-Nehemiah and in the Essene community was used to substantiate this hypothesis.

Dr. Stephen Pfann examined the lots discovered at Qumran and the role the Divine plays in the various aspects of the lottery.

Dr. Noah Hacham 's paper compared Diaspora theology in Hellenistic Judaism and in the Qumran sect. Fr. ?tienne Nodet proposed a different view of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Benei Zadok, Levites and Priests.

A special session was devoted to the issue of memory. Prof. Doron Mendels discussed memory in ancient societies, focusing upon I Maccabees. Prof. Loren Stuckenbruck explored how the Qumran community documents remembered the Teacher of Righteousness.

Dr. Chazon Lectures in Canada

In February, Dr. Chazon embarked on a whirlwind tour of Canada , organized by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University .

The trip commenced in Toronto on Feb. 3rd with an informal dinner meeting with members of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew U. O n Feb. 4th Dr. Chazon taught Prof. Eileen Schuller's seminar at McMaster University in nearby Hamilton, Ontario, where she also had a working lunch with faculty and graduate students

Continuing with her busy schedule, Dr Chazon gave a major public lecture on “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and Why” on Feb. 6, 2005 at Temple Sholom in Vancouver . While in Vancouver , s he led a faculty-graduate student seminar at the University of British Columbia , followed by an informal talk at the Hillel House on campus.

On Feb. 9th, Dr. Chazon flew to wintry Winnipeg (with temperatures reaching 14 degrees below zero) and gave another major public lecture at the Asper Jewish Campus on "The Magic of the Dead Sea Scrolls."

About 200 people attended each of the public lectures; the halls were full on both nights.

Orion Center Calendar

Spring/Summer 2005

All the lectures take place in the Rabin Building , Room 3001, and are given in Hebrew unless otherwise stated.

March 6: Coffee Hour Presentation

12:30-2:00 p.m.

Leeor Gottleib (Department of Bible, The Hebrew University), recipient of the Orion Center award for an outstanding M.A. thesis, lectured on “Two Types of Erroneous Repetition in the Bible and Qumran .”

M ar ch 22: Jonas C. Greenfield Schol ar s Semin ar

12:15–3:30 p.m.

Prof. Alexander Rof? (Department of Bible, The Hebrew University), spoke about “Controversies and Sects in the Second Commonwealth and Corrections in Biblical Texts”

April 6: Coffee Hour Presentation

12:30-2:00 p.m.

Vered Hillel (Department of Comparative Religion, The Hebrew University), recipient of the Orion Center doctoral fellowship, lectured on “The Source, Structure and Composition of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs” ( in English).

May 19: Scholars Seminar

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Prof. Crispin Fletcher-Louis , Visiting Scholar , UK will discuss “Fresh Thoughts on Early Enoch Traditions “( in English).

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The Associates Program offers the opportunity to receive current news about the Dead Sea Scrolls while supporting the Orion Center . You can help us foster innovative research and disseminate information to both scholars and the general public, about the Scrolls and their significance for the study of the history of Judaism and of early Christianity.

To join the Associates for 2005–2006, please make out your check to “ The Orion Center , Hebrew University ,” and mail it to the Center. Gifts may be earmarked to any of the following funds:

1. Endowment Fund: To assist the Center towards achieving financial independence.

2. Library Fund: Books and donations of $100 or more may bear the name of the benefactor or a person he/she wishes to honor.

3. Computer Fund: Towards ongoing expansion of computer resources for researchers and students.

4. Fellowship Fund: To provide yearly grants to young scholars working in the area of Dead Sea Scrolls and related fields.

We thank all of our long-standing Associates for their on-going support!