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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 2006


First Matlow Scholarship Awarded

The first Jean Matlow student research scholarships have been awarded to Yehoshua Granat and Moshe Tur-Paz for the academic year 2006–2007. Granat, a doctoral student in the Department of Hebrew Literature, is working on Creation themes in early Hebrew poetry and Second Temple literature; Tur-Paz, of the Department of Jewish History, is working on the question of community boundaries and religious exclusion during the Second Temple era. An awards ceremony will be held at the Canadian Friends dinner on June 12, 2006 during the Hebrew University Board of Governors annual meeting in Jerusalem.
The Matlow Endowment for the Orion Center was established in 2003 by Jean Matlow of Toronto, with the aim of providing scholarships for students to carry out research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, under the aegis of the Orion Center. The Endowment represents one of several Orion Center projects supported by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.
The Center applauds the dedication of its Canadian Friends, and congratulates the Jean Matlow Scholars.

Nobel Laureate Visits
Shrine of the Book

In April 2006, Columbia University Professor Richard Axel, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine, came to the Hebrew University Institute for Advanced Studies, to deliver the Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture. Prof. Axel put in a special request to see the Dead Sea Scrolls during his visit, and so on April 3rd, Orion Director Esther Chazon conducted Prof. Axel and Hebrew University molecular biology Prof. Howard Cedar (awarded the 1999 Israel Prize for Biology) on a tour of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum. They were joined in the Scrolls Conservation Laboratory by Penina Shor, Director of the Artifacts Treatment and Conservation Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who explained conservation issues and methods, and together with Dr. Chazon, showed the guests a sampling of the scrolls.


Visiting Scholars at the Orion Center

The Orion Center has been privileged to host two Visiting Scholars over the course of this academic year, Dr. Shani Berrin and Prof. Steven Weitzman.
Shani Berrin teaches at the University of Sydney, where she also serves as the Coordinator of Biblical Studies, in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical, and Jewish Studies. Shani is no stranger to the Orion Center; she spoke on biblical interpretation in Pesher Nahum at the 2002 Orion International Symposium on “Reworking the Bible.” Her recently published study, The Pesher Nahum Scroll from Qumran: An Exegetical Study of 4Q169 (Brill, 2004), is an edition and commentary that investigates the textual, exegetical, and literary techniques by which the biblical base-text of the prophet Nahum is applied to the contemporary experience of the Qumran community. This academic year, as a Yad Hanadiv Fellow and Orion Visiting scholar, Berrin has spent her time researching the use of biblical texts in the Book of Jubilees, in passages that are presented as citations from the "Heavenly Tablets." She shared some of the insights from her year’s work in an April meeting of the Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar.
Steven Weitzman is Irving. M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also directs IU's Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies program. In his recently published book, Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity (Harvard University Press, 2005), Weitzman explored the "arts of cultural survival": how Jews in the Second Temple period sustained their religious traditions in a world largely controlled by non-Jews. His current research project explores why early Jews perpetrated violence themselves, a topic that engages him with a number of important moments in early Jewish history and culture but is also meant as a broader study of the role of religious violence in the formation of Jewish and Christian culture. The Center tasted some of the fruits of his research through his April presentation, “Psychological Warfare in the War Scroll and Josephus.”


In Memoriam:

Jozef T. Milik, 1922–2006
by Hanan Eshel

Please click here in order to read the Hebrew version.

Jozef T. Milik, one of the world’s top Dead Sea Scrolls scholars, was born in Ceroczyn, Poland, on March 24, 1922, and passed away in Paris on January 6, 2006.
Milik was educated as a Catholic priest, studying in Warsaw and Lublin, and from 1946–1951 at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. In 1950 he published several papers on the text and orthography of the two scrolls of the Book of Isaiah from Qumran Cave 1, as well as a Latin translation of The Rule of the Community.
As a result of these publications he was invited by Fr. Roland de Vaux to the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, to participate in the editorial work on the Qumran manuscripts. Milik arrived in Jerusalem in 1952, and took part in the exploration of the caves in the area of Qumran, beginning in March, 1952. He excavated Qumran Cave 3, where the Copper Scroll was found. Later that year, Milik and de Vaux were the first scholars to enter Cave 4; Milik also helped to excavate Caves 5, 6, and 11.
Milik was the leader of the international group of scholars that converged on Jerusalem after the discovery of Cave 4. During his nine years working on the Cave 4 fragments at the Rockefeller Museum, he was able to decipher and publish more fragments than any other researcher. He was gifted with the ability to decipher ancient script, an unequalled philological sense, and complete knowledge of the languages in which he worked. His main scholarly strength was in the “small questions”: i.e., in identifications, completion of fragments and suggestions for readings, rather than in historical questions.
Milik’s critical text editions grace most of the early volumes of the Discoveries in the Judean Desert series. In 1957, he published Dix ans de De´couvertes dans la De´sert de Juda (ET: Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judea, trans. John Strugnell, 1959), which remains one of the best introductions to the Scrolls. He was one of the founders of the scholarly journal Revue de Qumrân (1959). In 1976 he published his important edition of the Aramaic fragments of Enoch. Milik has been honored for his achievements by the governments of Spain and Poland, as well as by scholarly publications in honor of his 75th and 80th birthdays. He may rightly be considered one of the most important researchers of the first generation of Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.

John C. Trever, 1915–2006
by James Sanders
Prof. John Trever was a man with the right gifts in the right place at the right time. A graduate of USC (1937) and Yale (1943), he was in Jerusalem as a Fellow of the American School of Oriental Research in February 1948, when monks from St. Mark's Syrian Monastery brought three scrolls to what is now called the Albright Institute.
He and colleague William Brownlee recognized the value of the scrolls from the script, which was very close to that of the Nash Papyrus. Trever coaxed the monks to leave the scrolls at the School for a brief time so they could be studied more closely. As it turned out, of course, these scrolls were not from the monastery's library but from Qumran Cave 1. Not knowing their provenance, but convinced of their value, Trever, a skilled photographer, rushed to procure the necessary film and set about photographing the scrolls in the basement of the School, late into the night. He used Kodachrome film which he carefully preserved through the years. These photographs were first published in May 1950, and again in 1972 in facsimile edition by the Albright Institute and the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem (Scrolls from Qumran Cave I: The Great Isaiah Scroll, The Order of the Community, The Pesher to Habakkuk from photographs by John C. Trever).
Those events set the course of Trever's life. In 1965 he published The Untold Story of Qumran. After teaching for a time at Baldwin Wallace College, he was invited in 1976 (along with his negatives) to Claremont, Calif., where, with this writer, he helped launch to the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center (ABMC), founded through the vision and generosity of Elizabeth Hay Bechtel. Trever remained to teach at the Claremont School of Theology, where he oversaw the "Trever Collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls." The collection is now an important part of the holdings of the ABMC.

Trever spent his professional life promoting the importance of the Scrolls. We extend our condolences to his wife Elizabeth and to his family.

Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity
The 11th Orion International Symposium:

The upcoming symposium will be held in Spring 2007, in cooperation with the Hebrew University Center for the Study of Christianity. Look for further details in the Fall Newletter and on the Orion Center website.


Orion Center Events—Spring 2005*

March 7: Coffee Hour Presentation
12:00–13:30 p.m. Dorit Gordon (MA candidate, Department of Jewish History, Hebrew University): “The Topography of Jerusalem and Josephus' Descriptions of Pompey's Siege" (in Hebrew).

March 21: Coffee Hour Presentation
12:15-13:30 p.m. Jeremy S. Penner (Orion Grant Recipient 2005/6; Ph.D candidate, McMaster University, Canada): "The Motivation for Daily Communal Prayer at Qumran" (in English).

APRIL 4: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar
12:15-14:00 p.m. Prof. Steven Weitzman (Department of Religious Studies, University of Bloomington, Indiana): “Psychological Warfare in the War Scroll and Josephus” (in English).

April 26: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar
12:15-14:00 p.m. Dr. Shani Berrin (University of Sydney, Australia): “Destiny, Testimony, and Textualism in Jubilees' Heavenly Tablets,” Rabin Building, Room 2001 (in Hebrew).

May 29: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar
12:15-14:00 p.m. Dr Michael Segal (Department of Bible, Hebrew University): "Eschatological Biblical Interpretation in 1 Enoch 1 and its Echoes in Ancient Jewish Literature" (in Hebrew).

June 14: Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar
12:15-14:00 p.m. Prof. Alexander Rofe (Department of Bible, Hebrew University): “The Issue of Prayer in the Damascus Document,” Rabin Building, Room 2001 (in Hebrew).

*Unless otherwise specified, all events are held in the Rabin World Center for Jewish Studies Building, Room 3001.