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Current Newsletter


The Orion Center Newsletter

Nov 2001, Seventh Issue


Letter from the Director

As we go to press, the head of the Dead Sea Scrolls International Publication Team, Prof. Emanuel Tov, is about to announce that all of the Dead Sea Scrolls are now officially published. The next stage of research involves the integration of the new information from the Scrolls with all of our other sources from the formative Second Temple period and the dawn of Christianity. Since its inception in 1995, the Orion Center has fostered such innovative study, and we look forward to advancing this research with all the Scrolls finally available.

The Center marked another milestone this fall with the publication of the official bibliography of the Dead Sea Scrolls, compiled by former Chief-of-Publications, Avital Pinnick. Orion Webmaster David Emanuel continues to update the Center's On-Line Bibliography weekly, and I kindly urge all of you, our friends and colleagues, to keep us abreast of your most recent publications.

We have prepared a rich program of activities for the new academic year. This could not have been done without the constant support, guidance, collegiality and friendship of the Center's Academic Committee, the academic community in Israel and abroad, as well as our donors-the Orion Foundation, the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, the Dorot Foundation, and the Bollag-Herzheimer Foundation.

We invite you all to take an active part in the life of the Center. I extend to all of our readers my thanks and good wishes for peace in these trying times.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Esther Chazon

Scrolls Publication Completed

By Mayaan Jaffe

After over fifty years of meticulous research and editing, the official publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Discoveries in the Judean Desert (DJD) series is now complete, with but a few supplementary volumes still to follow. Emanuel Tov, Editor-in-Chief of the DJD series and Hebrew University J.L. Magnes Professor of Bible will make the official announcement at a press conference of the Israel Antiquities Authority to be held at the New York Public Library on November 15th, and at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Annual Meeting on November 19 in Denver, Colorado. Tov will sum up this achievement at a special SBL plenary session, "Celebrating the Completion of the Publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls," which has been organized by Orion Center Director, Esther Chazon. James A. Sanders of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, California, and editor of the Cave 11 Psalms Scroll, will preside.

"Basically, we made the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the public," Tov said in his modest manner. However, Tov's accomplishment is far from modest. Between 1955 and 1990, only 8 DJD volumes were published. Since Tov's appointment as editor-in-chief in 1991, another 28 DJD volumes have been completed.

Upon assuming his editorial post, Tov decided to speed up production and keep down costs by expanding the team of Scrolls editors and assembling a separate production staff. This has been a formidable task, as he explains: "We had to arrange a team of over 60 scholars . . . from all over the world . . . . We realized that it would only work if we ourselves prepared the camera-ready manuscripts. So, we do it all here," he said, pointing to a little room next door to his office, which houses computers, printers, and archives, as well as the production staff who create the DJD volumes.

The editors worked with thousands of fragments of what are assumed to have once been larger scrolls. Over nine hundred individual texts have ultimately been published in the DJD series. The volumes are categorized in keeping with the literary character of the texts, and according to Tov, each volume is an enterprise in itself. "I made a master plan, but as we went along it expanded, " he said. "We had to assign each composition, sometimes a mere fragment, to a scholar. I worked with the scholars and the scholars interacted. When we received the material, we worked on it here. I read all the material myself, and each volume editor read it for details. Then the work would go back to the author and then come back to us." This process, he said, happened several times for every scroll.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are not easy to work with, Tov explained. What makes the DJD series so impressive is that the scholars who have edited the Scrolls have been studying their texts for years. Tov said it is only long-time researchers such as Shemaryahu Talmon, Esther Chazon, Lawrence Schiffman, Eugene Ulrich and James VanderKam, among others, who can "make sense of a bunch of fragments about which we knew nothing."

However, the very meticulousness of the scholarly editors also proved to be an obstacle. Laughing, Tov said, "One major difficulty was convincing scholars that they have to finish their work."

Tov said the "philosophy behind the DJD editions is to provide scholars with a workable edition of the text which, though presenting the best possible edition . . . may be improved upon by subsequent generations of scholars."


New DJD Volume Released: Qumran Calendrical Texts

By Mayaan Jaffe

Following nearly fifty years of research, begun by French-Polish scholar J. T. Milik, all of the calendrical material from Qumran has now been fully published. Qumran Cave 4 XVI: Calendrical Texts (DJD XXI), co-edited by Shemaryahu Talmon, Jonathan Ben-Dov, and Uwe Glessmer, contains a full transcription of the Cave 4 fragments and detailed commentary on them, together with photographs of all the manuscripts. "The photographic plates of one scroll alone [4Q319]," says Jonathan Ben-Dov, "contain over 100 fragments, most of them very small pieces which were never studied before … Our full perspective on this composition first appears in DJD XXI."

Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus in the Bible Department at The Hebrew University, has been studying the calendar since the 1950s. Today, according to co-editor Ben-Dov, scholars generally accept Talmon's argument that the calendar was one of the main motives for the socio-religious split in Second Temple Judea.

What attracts scholars' attention today is the surprising fact that the sectarian 364-day solar calendar has been shown to describe lunar phenomena as well. "The question of the part played by the moon in the Qumran calendar can now be studied properly," Ben-Dov said.

But the most significant aspect of DJD XXI, according to Ben-Dov, is that this volume, "together with the full publication of the Aramaic fragments of the Astronomical Book of Enoch [DJD XXXVI] and the imminent publication of Phases of the Moon (4Q317), will supply scholars with the full data needed for the study of calendrical science in Qumran."

The DJD series is published by Oxford University Press. The Oxford Center for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, and the Israel Antiquities Authority have provided generous financial support for the publication project.


Profile: Professor Betsy Halpern-Amaru

The Center is pleased to welcome Prof. Betsy Halpern-Amaru as a Visiting Scholar for the academic year 2001-2002. Professor Halpern-Amaru is on sabbatical from Vassar College, where she has taught since 1981 in the Department of Religion. Prof. Halpern-Amaru is no stranger to the work of the Orion Center. In 1997 she presented research on the figure of Levi in the Book of Jubilees at the Second Orion International Symposium; this presentation subsequently appeared as an article in Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. Esther G. Chazon and Michael E Stone, 1999).

Prof. Halpern-Amaru has written extensively on the characterization of women in post-biblical Jewish writings. Her most recent book, The Empowerment of Women in the Book of Jubilees (Leiden: Brill, 1999), brings together her interest in the characterizations of biblical women in Second Temple Jewish Literature and her long-standing fascination with Jubilees. The interpretive issues raised in her earlier book, Rewriting the Bible: Land and Covenant in Post-Biblical Jewish Literature, continue to arouse her scholarly attention.

During her tenure at the Center, Prof. Halpern-Amaru is pursuing several research projects related to the Book of Jubilees. Her current investigation of traditions that may have served as sources for Jubilees will provide the basis for a presentation at the upcoming Orion International Symposium. She is also working on an ongoing project on midrash in Jubilees, and she will continue her research on exegetical techniques used in 'rewritten Bible' exegesis.

This Fall Prof. Halpern-Amaru is teaching a seminar in the Graduate Division of the Rothberg International School. The seminar, entitled "Biblical Exegesis and Western Culture," takes a wide-ranging look at the ways in which various eras interpret biblical stories in support of their own concerns. Prof. Halpern-Amaru will take her students on a journey with the First Man and Woman, through classical Jewish, Christian, and Islamic exegesis; to medieval portraits in art and literature; to twentieth-century feminist and other readings.

We at the Orion Center welcome Prof. Halpern-Amaru to Jerusalem, and we look forward to her participation in the Greenfield Scholars' Seminar, the Symposium, and other Orion activities.


Orion Center News

Professor Michael Stone, Head of the Orion Center's Academic Committee, is away on sabbatical at Harvard Divinity School this Fall. We wish him a fruitful semester and look forward to his return in the Spring.

On Nov. 7, the Center hosted a Greenfield Scholars' Seminar Evening Symposium, marking the anniversary of the 75th birthday of the late Prof. Jonas Greenfield, and celebrating the publication of 'Al Kanfei Yonah, his collected essays.

The Virtual Qumran project is moving forward under the direction of Laurie Marr. The new Website, to be completed this Spring, will use sophisticated media and computer graphics to take visitors on a tour of the Qumran site and furnish resources for more in-depth research. Hebrew University students Mayaan Jaffe and Rona Evyasaf are writing the text for the new Website.

This past winter, we bade farewell to Dr. Avital Pinnick, the Center's former Chief of Publications, who has worked with the Center since its inception in 1995. Among her other accomplishments, Dr. Pinnick compiled the Center's On-Line Dead Sea Scrolls Bibliography. We wish her all success in her new position. David Emanuel, our Webmaster, now manages the Center's electronic communications and maintains the Bibliography; Dorit Gordon continues to serve as the research assistant for the bibliography project. Dr. Ruth Clements joined the Center staff this summer as our new Chief of English-language Publications. As always, Ariella Amir provides fine administrative support essential to the smooth running of the Center's programs.


DJD Volumes Released in 2001

S. Talmon, J. Ben-Dov, U. Glessmer, Qumran Cave 4.XVI: Calendrical Texts ( DJD XXI; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001).

D. M. Gropp, Wadi Daliyeh II: The Samaria Papyri from Wadi Daliyeh; E. Schuller et al., in consultation with J. VanderKam and M. Brady, Qumran Cave 4.XXVIII: Miscellanea, Part 2 (DJD XXVIII; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001).

D. Dimant, Qumran Cave 4.XXI: Parabiblical Texts, Part 4: Pseudo-Prophetic Texts (DJD XXX; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001).

E. Puech, Qumran Cave 4.XXII: Textes Araméens première partie: 4Q529-549 (DJD XXXI; Oxford, Clarendon, 2001).

D. Pike, A. Skinner, in consultation with J. VanderKam and M. Brady, Qumran Cave 4.XXIII: Unidentified Fragments (DJD XXXIII; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001).

Soon to appear: E. Tov, ed., The Texts from the Judean Desert: Indices and an Introduction to the Discoveries in the Judean Desert Series (DJD XXXIX; Oxford: Clarendon, 2001/2002).

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