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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 2004


Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This year we will mark a decade since the founding of the Orion Center in 1995! It is a time for celebration, reflection on the past decade of research, and planning for the future.
We invite the entire Orion community of colleagues, friends and supporters to take part in this process through the special as well as on-going activities we will be holding this year. The 10th annual symposium program and other program up-dates will be posted regularly on our Website.
This milestone is an appropriate time to take the opportunity to thank our supporters: The Hebrew University, The Orion Foundation, Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, The Dorot Foundation, The Bollag-Herzheimer Fund, The Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, The Associates of the Orion Center, the Orion Academic Committee, the Center staff, and all the individuals who have fostered the academic life of the Center during its first decade.

With best wishes for a peaceful and productive New Year,

Dr. Esther Chazon


Miriam Sheffer Memorial Lecture Series

The Orion Center organizes an annual Friday morning lecture series for students at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PBI) and the Rothberg School for Overseas Students, which are given by scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls and associated literature. The PBI is a Catholic Institute of the Jesuit order that prepares students who wish to specialize in biblical studies, the history of the Bible, exegesis, and ancient languages. This year's lecture series will be given in memory of Miriam Sheffer, the former director of the division of graduate studies at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students who passed away last year. The program is as follows:

On Nov. 10, 2004 at 6:00 p.m., Prof. Michael Stone will give the opening lecture on "Adam and Enoch: Competing Paradigms for the Origin of Evil" at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students.

On Nov. 26, 2004 from 10:30-12:00, Dr. David Satran will discuss "The Problem of Evil and the Question of Magic in Early Christianity" at the PBI, 3 Emile Botta St., Jerusalem.

On Dec. 17, 2004 from 10:30-12:00, Dr. Esther Chazon will talk about "The Problem of Evil and the Question of Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls" at the PBI, 3 Emile Botta St., Jerusalem.


Prof. Stone Lectures in Australia

On July 18, 2004, Prof. Michael Stone addressed a function at the Hakoah Club in Sydney, Australia on "The Understanding of Evil in Second Temple Judaism." The lecture took place to a full hall. Prof. Stone, Gail Levin de Nur Professor of Comparative Religion and Founding Director of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was in residence at Queen's College, Melbourne University, Australia for the semester as the annual Sugden Fellow.
In his talk, Prof. Stone explored two ways in which the origins of evil and the righteousness of God were understood. According to the Fourth Book of Ezra, written shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple, the potentiality of evil was created in Adam and inherited by his descendants. This potentiality, originating from God the Creator, led to sin and its punishment. According to another view, present in works written or cultivated by the Essenes, evil originated from the forbidden relations between the "sons of God" and human women (Gen. 6). From these relations both forbidden knowledge and demons originated. Stone investigated the interplay between these two views and the worldviews they engendered.
On August 24, 2004 over 300 people convened at the University of Melbourne to listen to Prof. Stone deliver a presentation on "The Dead Sea Scrolls: Most Recent Discoveries and their Implications." Prof. Stone spoke about how the Scrolls reached their destination and the progress made by scholars in understanding the Scrolls over the last ten years, due in part to the development of new technologies. He described the Qumran community, their unique customs and beliefs, and linked their life to the evolution of early Judaism.
On September 8, 2004, Prof. Stone lectured to an unprecedented crowd of over 100 guests at Queen's College on "Adam and Enoch: Two Competing Paradigms of Evil."
The audience included former Governor General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowan and Lady Cowan, former Governor of Victoria Dr. Davis McCaughey, as well as numerous scholars, theologians and students from the University community and outside it. The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session.


Scrolls in the Media Archiveby Maxine Grossman, University of Maryland

The five large volumes of newspaper and magazine clippings in the archive donated to the Orion Center by Emanuel Tov provide readers with the opportunity to walk through the modern history of the scrolls from the perspective of the international media.
For many visitors to the Archive, a high point will be the very full coverage of the 1989 to 1993 scrolls publication controversy (found in volumes 2 and 3). The frenzy of press coverage from that period-including lengthy articles in the Washington Post Magazine and Vanity Fair-serves as a reminder of how intensely this story captured the public eye. It is interesting to ask, in reading through this collection, how the media version of the story compares with the events as scholars remember them. A third "version" of the story could be found by consulting the pages of BAR, and a nice scholarly project might assess these distinct perceptions of events (not to mention the question of how often and to what extent large newspapers relied on BAR for their own presentations of the controversy). Visitors with an interest in such comparisons will want to obtain copies of the relevant volumes of BAR (available in any library and many personal collections), since most of that voluminous material is not re-collected here.
My own interest in popular perceptions of the scrolls led me to focus on the archive's earliest material. Most striking were the articles from 1956 and 1958 that reflected the media's fascination with the scrolls theories of John Allegro. Discredited as Allegro's arguments may have been among scholars, they were hugely popular in the media and appear to have translated well among popular audiences. Reading through the archive's accounts of Allegro's British radio addresses, as well as several published interviews, I was repeatedly struck by the sense that most, if not all, of the elements of recent scrolls controversies can be traced back to Allegro's claims from this period. Everything from complaints about slow publication and editorial "secrecy," to accusations of religious bias, references to Christian anxiety about the uniqueness of Jesus, and even claims about a pierced messiah can be found in Allegro's public statements from this period. Here, too, the archive suggests a significant avenue for further questioning.


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

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Orion Center, our annual symposium will present current Scrolls scholarship, add broad new perspectives and set the agenda for future research. Addressing the range of genres and major issues in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, each session will focus on a particular genre or theme such as biblical interpretation; religious practice and institutions; theology; daily life, social organization; Wisdom and education; and others. A special session will be devoted to "Memory and Remembrance in Second Temple Judaism and Beyond."


Center News

Our heartiest congratulations to the following members of the Center:
To Prof. Michael E. Stone, Orion Center founder, on his honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in recognition of his commitment to the world of scholarship as Professor of Armenian Studies and Gail Levin de Nur Professor of Religious Studies at Hebrew University. The degree will be conferred on November 12, 2004.
To Prof. Emanuel Tov of the Hebrew University Department of Bible, an Orion Academic Committee Member and Editor-in-Chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls, upon being awarded the EMET prize for this year.
To Dr. Ruth Clements, the Center's chief of publications, upon receiving a research grant from the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. for 2004/5. Dr. Clements will research the topic of biblical exegesis during the period of Judaism's separation from Christianity. Dr. Clements will return to the Center in August 2005.
To research assistant Ms. Shelly Zilberfarb-Eshkoli upon the birth of a daughter. We thank her for the several years she has worked here and regret to see her leave.

We welcome the following new research assistants:
Nadav Sharon, an M.A. student in Jewish History at the Hebrew University is working on our bibliography project.
Asher Altshul, an M.A. student in Classical Archaeology at the Hebrew University is helping to compose the virtual Qumran site.
Etka Liebowitz, a Ph.D. student in Jewish History at the Hebrew University is the new assistant head of English language publications.

We thank Ariella Amir for her steady and efficient administration of the Center.


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 2004-2005, 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 welcome Ms. Hadas Arnon of Haifa, Dr. Shani Berrin of Sidney, Ms. Sheila T. Bishop of North Carolina, Mrs. Sophie Caplan of Sidney, Ms. Karmen Farrugia of Jerusalem, and Mr. Brian Shultz of Jerusalem as new Orion Associates for 2004. We thank all of our long-standing Associates for their on-going support!