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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

November 2003

Letter from the Director

We have a great deal to look forward to this year at the Center. Thanks to a special three-year grant from the University, we were able to make two post-doctoral appointments at the Center this year, for the first time-Dr. Noah Hacham is preparing a commentary on 3 Maccabees, and Dr. Ronit Nikolsky is researching traditions about the Ten Lost Tribes. Joining them in January will be Orion Visiting Scholar Prof. Dwight Swanson, from Manchester, England.

This year also marks our first collaborative program with the Center for the Study of Christianity, directed by Prof. Guy Stroumsa. Our joint international symposium, Text, Thought and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity, will culminate in a Scrolls Forum at the Israel Museum, open to the general public. Another milestone was reached this year with the publication of the proceedings of the fifth and sixth Orion international symposia.

Our relationship with the Australian and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University continues to flourish. I had the pleasure and privilege of addressing that group at the Board of Governors meeting in May and will soon kick off the Scrolls exhibit in Canada, in an event organized by CFHU.
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our Australian and Canadian friends, as well as our colleagues at Hebrew University and abroad, for your enthusiastic support and partnership, facilitating the Center's important work.

With best wishes,
Dr. Esther Chazon

Board of Governors Qumran Study Tour

During the meeting of the Board of Governors this past May, the Orion Center arranged an afternoon study tour of the Qumran site for members of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, headed by Stephen Victor, the National President of CFHU, and Charles Diamond, CFHU Executive Director. An Australian contingent also participated, among them Mr. Michael Dunkel of the Orion Foundation and the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, and Mr. Robert Simons of the Sir Zelman Cowen Fund and President of the Australian Friends.

Dr. Esther Chazon, Director of the Orion Center, opened the event with a "Lunch and Learn" session at the Beit Meiersdorf Faculty Club. Dr. Chazon guided the group in a text study of the Qumran Community Rule, using a source book prepared for the occasion, and conducted a lively question and answer period. Following the luncheon, participants traveled to the Qumran site, where they went on a tour led by Prof. Joseph Patrich, of the University's Institute of Archaeology and also a member of the Orion Center's Academic Committee.

The program gave the University's Governors and Friends from abroad a chance to experience first-hand the excitement of the treasures of Qumran.

Orion Director Revisits Canada

On November 30, 2003, Dr. Esther Chazon will speak at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa, on the subject, "The Power of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mystery of the Qumran Community." The lecture is co-sponsored by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University and the Jacob M. Lowy Collection of the National Library.

The talk coincides with an exhibition entitled, "Ancient Treasures and the Dead Sea Scrolls," which displays texts and artifacts on loan from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Dr. Chazon will discuss some of the texts featured in the exhibition, which include the Community Rule, one of the Isaiah scrolls, and the War Scroll.

This event is part of a new cooperative relationship between CFHU and Orion that began with a talk given by Dr. Chazon last year in Toronto, and led to the Board of Governors Study Tour featured on page 1. The Orion Center is proud of this partnership and looks forward to continuing to engage in projects with our Canadian friends.

Ninth Symposium Marks New
Intra-University Collaboration
by Ruth Clements

The Ninth International Orion Center Symposium, Text, Thought and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity, is a collaborative effort of the Orion Center and the Center for the Study of Christianity in the Hebrew University.

The Center for the Study of Christianity, directed by Prof. Guy G. Stroumsa, is one of a number of HU research centers operating within the Faculty of Humanities. The Center's work officially began in the spring of 2000; it sponsors an annual lecture and occasional seminars with local and visiting scholars, as well as offering Research Fellowships to advanced students.

The Center has special connections with the Rothberg International School and the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Graduate students in religious studies at Rothberg take part in Center programs. The Center conducts a seminar series with the PBI and arranges cooperative activities with other Christian study centers around Jerusalem.

The jointly-sponsored symposium will focus on patterns of relations between the Qumran community, the Jesus movement, and the early Church. Following completion of the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Orion symposia have begun to address the significance of the now-published texts for other fields of scholarship. This January, with the cooperation of the Center for the Study of Christianity, scholars of early Christianity will meet Scrolls scholars to pool their expertise. They will look at texts and their interpretations, patterns of religious belief, and religious behavior. In the process they will also re-evaluate longstanding assumptions about connections between the Qumran community and the earliest Christians. It is hoped that this intra-university collaboration will prepare the ground for new conceptions of the origins of early Christianity in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

New Technology at the Orion Center
by Yael Bezalel-Eliahoo and Shelly Zilberfarb-Eshkoli

Those of you who frequent the Orion Center web site will have noticed that our internet look has changed. As of this fall, the Center sports a newly redesigned homepage, which includes several features intended to make it easier for users to find the information they seek. Among the new features is a drop-down menu bar, which allows users to jump from one place to another on the site without needing to go back to the homepage each time. Certain items have been made more prom-inent, such as the Center Calendar and the Bulletin Board. In another develop-ment, the On-Line Bibliography is being restructured so that the database is easier to search. And finally, we have now begun posting some items in Hebrew as well as in English, such as our Hebrew Newsletter, the Yedion, and information about upcoming Center events

We want to remind readers that through our web site it is possible to access a number of other web sites with information about the Scrolls (follow the "Resources" tab to "Outside Links"). Likewise, we are happy to post announcements of upcoming con-ferences and programs having to do with the Scrolls and related topics. If you experience any difficulties with the site or with seeing Hebrew text, or if you have announcements to post or comments on the site, please contact the Webmaster, Yael Bezalel-Eliahoo, at our e-mail address.

As always, the Orion Center publishes a weekly list of new DSS bibliography on the web site. We are now involved in a concerted effort to update the list with all relevant bibliography from 2000 onward, in preparation for the publication of the next five-year cumulative bibliography in 2005. We invite you to send us both new publications and older ones that seem to be missing from the On-Line list.

Off the Web and in the Scholars' Room, we have a number of computer resources available, in addition to our growing library. Particularly useful are The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Reference Library (ed. T. Lim; Oxford and Brill) and the Accordance Concordance of the Bible and the Scrolls (Oaktree Software). Researchers and students are invited to make use of these and other resources; the Scholars' Room (located in the new Rabin Building, 3rd Floor) is open every Sunday between 12:00-14:00 p.m., or by appointment.

Center News

We are happy to welcome back Dr. Esther Chazon after a semester's sabbatical. Thanks to Dr. Ze'ev Weiss and Dr. Noah Hacham, for serving respectively as Acting Director and Assistant Director of the Center during her absence, and to Ms. Ariella Amir, for providing administrative continuity. We also appreciate the help of Ari Finkelstein, last year's Orion Center Intern, and we welcome Gunnar Magnus Eidsvaag, of Norway, the first of this year's Interns.

Prof. Michael Stone, the head of the Center's Academic Committee, has been appointed a Senior Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where he is researching an Armenian poetic composition, The Book of Adam, by the medieval poet Arakel of Siwnik. We look forward to his return in December.

Prof. Dwight Swanson, of Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, England, will be coming to the Center in January as a Visiting Scholar. Prof. Swanson will be researching the topic, "The Nature of the Authority of the Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls." He will examine biblical, parabiblical and related texts found at Qumran in an attempt to trace the journey of authoritative texts from acknowledged teaching / interpretation to canonical status.