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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

November 2008



12th Orion International Symposium
Hebrew in the Second Temple Period: The Language of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of Other Contemporary Sources

The Orion Center is joining together with the Eliezer Ben-Yehuda Center for the Study of the History of the Hebrew Language to hold the 12th Orion symposium, “Hebrew in the Second Temple Period: The Language of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of Other Contemporary Sources,” December 29–31, 2008, in Beit Maiersdorf and the Rabin Building, at the Hebrew University. The symposium brings together senior and young scholars from Israel and abroad who research different aspects of the Hebrew language traditions that existed during the Second Temple Period. All the participants deal with at least one of the following bodies of texts: the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Ben Sira, Tannaitic Hebrew, Samaritan Hebrew, and the Hebrew reflected in Greek transcriptions. Paper topics range from grammatical and syntactic issues to studies on the vocabulary of Qumranic and related documents, including the recently published Vision of Gabriel.
This symposium will also be the fifth in a series of scholarly meetings on the Hebrew of the Scrolls initiated by T. Muraoka. Previous gatherings have taken place in Leiden (1995 and 1997), Beer Sheva (1999), and Strasbourg (2006). The proceedings of the previous symposia have been published by Brill in the series Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah: The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls & Ben Sira (vol. 26), Sirach, Scrolls, & Sages (vol. 33), Diggers at the Well (vol. 36), Conservatism and Innovation in the Hebrew Language of the Hellenistic Period (vol. 73).
For more information on the symposium program, please visit our website. Scholars and graduate students are invited to attend.

The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature
Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies
Rabin World Center of Jewish Studies
The Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem 91905 Israel
Tel: 972–2–588–1966  Fax: 972–2–588–3584
E-mail: msdss@mscc.huji.ac.il
Web site: http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il

The Orion Center Newsletter, edited by Ruth Clements
© 2008, The Orion Center

 

Letter from the Director
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The past academic year was noteworthy for the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls. Members of the Orion Center played a noticeable role in special events that took place worldwide, from here in Jerusalem to San Diego in North America, to Vienna and Aix-en-Provence in Europe, as well as elsewhere. It is particularly worth noting that the Orion Center joined forces with the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in organizing a large and impressive three day conference, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Contemporary Culture: Celebrating 60 Years of Discovery.”
The Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar series and the Coffee and Discussion Series were well attended this year by scholars and students. The lectures given by senior scholars, Orion prize recipients, and advanced doctoral students attracted between 20 and 40 participants and were accompanied by lively discussions.
The Orion Center also cooperated with the organizers (Ixlan, Inc.) of an exhibition on the Scrolls and Early Christianity that took place in South Korea and that ran for more than half a year. Video clips from the Center’s “Virtual Qumran” site were loaned to the organizers and screened at the exhibition.
I am delighted to announce that the Virtual Qumran website is finally completed after several years of work. You are all invited to point your browsers at http://virtualqumran.huji.ac.il to take a virtual tour of the Qumran site led by the renowned archaeologist Prof. Jodi Magnes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many scholars (especially Shani Berrin, Hanan Eshel, Shalom Paul, Eileen Schuller, Daniel Schwartz, and Guy Stiebel), student assistants, and members of the Center who gave of their time and knowledge in helping develop the site. Special thanks go to Orion’s webmaster, Ms. Yael Bezalel, and Orion’s chief of English publications, Dr. Ruth Clements, both of whom spent countless hours bringing the site to completion.
And finally I wish to thank the organizations and individuals that enable the Orion Center to fulfill its academic mission so successfully: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Orion Foundation, the Sir Zelman Cowen Foundation, the members of the Academic Committee of the Center, scholars, colleagues, and friends, and last but not least, Ms. Ariella Amir and Dr. Ruth Clements.
With best wishes for the New Year,
Steve Fassberg

A Window onto the Schøyen Collection
Torleif Elgvin
Evangelical Lutheran University College, Oslo

The Norwegian Schøyen Collection contains fragments from fifteen scrolls from the Judean Desert as well as artifacts that probably derive from Khirbet Qumran and the adjacent caves. These items were acquired by The Schøyen Collection from 1994 onwards, and were bought either from dealers or from the belongings of the first generation of scroll scholars. Along with coworkers, both textual scholars and archeologists, I am processing these finds with the aim of publishing all the material in one volume by the end of 2009. A sample from a scroll jar will be examined using neutron activation analysis in the near future, and ink from a Qumran inkwell will also be analyzed.

Most of the fragments are biblical. Some expand the textual material of biblical scrolls already published. A couple of the fragments were presented in DJD (and another in Revue de Qumran without authoriza-tion), but new infrared photographic techniques enable us to improve the previouseditions substan-tially. Some of the frag-ments preserve interesting readings that deviate from the Masoretic text.
A small Aramaic fragment (with three lines and 21 preserved letters) may derive from some kind of Enochic manuscript. Further, a Tobit fragment that supplements the textual evidence of 4QTobita was published last year in Revue de Qumran (see illustra-tion). The collection also includes minor fragments from the Rule of Benedic-tions (1QSb) and the Gene-sis Apocryphon.
Although the Schøyen Collection is housed in Oslo and London, Jerusalem remains the central location for scrolls research. During the past year, I have been working on these texts during study leaves in Jerusalem, where I have been able to consult with colleagues and work in the Scholars’ Room of the Orion Center. I am indebted to the Orion staff and would like to express my thanks for their help and support.
Further details on the collection may be found on the Web at www.schoyencollection.com/dsscrolls.htm and www.schoyencollection.com/HebrewAramaic.htm.
Illustration: A fragment of the apocryphal book of Tobit (Tob 14:4–6), from 4QpapTobita ar, The Schøyen Collection ms 5234. Reproduced by permission of Martin Schøyen.

 

 

Orion Center Academic Committee
Dr. Esther Chazon, Chair
Prof. Steven Fassberg
Prof. Deborah Gera
Prof. Aharon Maman
Prof. Joseph Patrich
Prof. Shalom Paul
Dr. David Satran
Prof. Emanuel Tov

Center News
This year at the Orion Center has been a whirl of activity, as events surrounding the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the scrolls have brought the scrolls themselves more into both the academic and the public eye. The website itself has been a focus of much of that activity, both because of in-creasing use of the On-Line Bibliography and a burgeoning interest in Qumran from the general public. The completion of the Orion Virtual Qumran website marks but one aspect of the role that the Center plays as a source for reliable in-formation on the scrolls and the Qumran archeological site.
Accolades are being awarded to a number of Orion academic committee members and associates this fall. Emanuel Tov received an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna in October. A Festschrift will be presented to Shalom Paul in November; Avi Hurvitz will be honored with a Festschrift in his turn at the upcoming Orion Symposium. Congratulations to our colleagues on these recognitions of your scholarly achievements!
Two Matlow Scholars will pursue their studies under Orion Center auspices this year: Dr. Ariel Feldman of the University of Haifa, who will spend this year researching “The Reworking of 1–2 Kings in 4Q382”; and Mr. Christian Stadel, who was awarded the Orion M.A. prize for his Uni-versity of Heidelberg thesis, “Hebraisms in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls.” Stadel has begun a doctoral program in the De-partment of the Hebrew Language at the Hebrew Univer-sity. In addition, Research Fellow Dr. Lara Guglielmo of the University of Naples Federico II will visit the Center in Jan-uary to continue working on her physical reconstruction of the halakhic section of 4Q266 (4QDamascus Documenta).
A number of Visiting Scholars and researchers have graced our doors in 2007–2008. Torleif Elgvin, of Evangeli-cal Lutheran University College, Oslo, has been here a num-ber of times through the year to work on his forthcoming edition of the Schøyen Collection Dead Sea Scrolls (see facing article). Katell Berthelot, of the CNRS, is in Jeru-salem for an extended research period as well and has taken an active part in Orion activities. Dr. Michael Langlois, now with the Collège de France, visited while finishing up his doctorate. Shani Berrin Tzoref, in addition to pursuing her own research as a Visiting Scholar, spent a generous amount of time this past winter and spring revising copy for the Virtual Qumran site.
Research assistant Nadav Sharon continues to manage the weekly On-Line Bibliography. Research assistant Hannah Wortzman has been maintaining the Scholars’ Room library and perseveres in cataloguing our offprints collection. Summer Intern Samantha Samson, from New College of Florida, worked with Hannah to sort and catalogue a recently loaned collection of scrolls photographs—and then took up her own camera, visiting the Qumran site to procure some much-needed photos for the VQ project. Thanks to all the Orion staff for your ongoing efforts in making the Center a useful resource for scholars and the public alike.


Dead Sea Scrolls on Tour

June 28, 2008–December 30, 2008
Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina
http://www.naturalsciences.org/scrolls/index.shtml
September 21, 2008–January 4, 2009
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
http://www.thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/DeadSeaScrolls
For information on upcoming exhibitions, please visit
http://www.antiquities.org.il/dds_eng.asp; or
http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/resources/boardExhibits.shtml

The Dead Sea Scrolls Digitization Project by Pnina Shor, Israel Antiquities Authority

To mark the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has launched an ambitious project of digitizing all of the Dead Sea manuscripts, comprising thousands of fragments, arranged in c. 1260 plates.
The thousands of fragments have been photographed in their entirety only once, in the 1950s. Scholarly research and publication are largely based on these infrared photographs, although the images oldrepresent the condition of the scrolls some fifty years ago, and even the best of them rely on photo-graphic techno-logy that has since been sur-passed. More-over, some of the negatives of these images have also disin-tegrated.
Since its estab-lishment, the IAA Scrolls Conser-vation Lab has limited photo-graphy to essen-tial documenta-tion and specific requests for images for research and publication. Thus, there is a gap in the detailed image information available to scholars, as well as the lack of an active image record that can be used to assist in conservation efforts.
The IAA initiated the digitization project both to monitor the well-being of the scrolls, and to expand access to scholars and the public worldwide, while preventing further damage from physical exposure. To this end, in November 2007 we convened an international committee of experts in the fields of imaging technologies and the manage-ment of large image databases to evaluate innovative techniques for creating and

documenting high quality images.
The committee set a series of potential goals and objectives for a digitization project, including: the use of spectral imaging to improve monitoring for long term preservation in a noninvasive and precise manner; the creation of both infrared and high-resolution color images of every fragment, in order to facilitate broad use without endangering these frail texts; and the development of a user-friendly metadata base to optimize access to the Scroll photographs via the Web.

At the end of August, the IAA conducted a pilot project in order to assess the selected imaging and data-accessing technologies; to determine the most efficient work flow, so as to reduce unnecessary exposure of the scrolls; and to estimate time and funding requirements for the full imaging of all thethousands of scroll fragments. The team included IAA staff and international experts in the fields of imaging technologies and the management of large image databases, among them Dr Gregory Bearman, recently retired as Principal Scientist of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA; Simon Tanner, Director, King’s Digital Consultancy Services (King’s College); Dr Julia Craig-McFeely, a manuscript photography expert; and Tom Lianza, Director of Motion Picture and Television Technologies, X-rite Incor-porated. Dr. Bearman has previously worked with the IAA and other national libraries on the imaging of an-cient texts;a his group pio-neered the ap-plication of modern digi-tal electronic and spectral imaging to archeological artifacts. Simon Tanner has worked with some of the rarest artifacts around the world and helped numerous digital projects in delivering public and scholarly access to their treasures. Dr Craig-McFeely is Director of the Oxford-based Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music and is internationally renowned for her excellence in the digital photography of manuscript materials. Tom Lianza is one of the early pioneers in the field of color management and developed some of the earliest digital flatbed color scanners.
Three separate imaging stations were set up in a sealed, grey- painted space: a high resolution color imager, a high resolution single wavelength IR imager, and a spectral imager with lower spatial resolution that covers the red and infrared portions of the spectrum. Color imaging cap-tures the current state of the scrolls, while the IR imaging provides significantly increased legibility to the text. Spectral imaging will help us monitor any changes in the manuscripts by measuring and monitoring their spectral reflectance.
Once the results of the pilot have been thoroughly analyzed and the funding allocated, the IAA will embark on the first phase of the long-term project, that of the imaging itself. Concurrently we will design and create a metadata base that will provide internet access to the images, transcriptions, translations, and relevant publications. In keeping with the IAA commitment to the preservation of the Scrolls, the project will allow us to reduce the exposure of the original scrolls to a minimum while providing access to their contents in a way that should satisfy both the scholarly community and the public.

Photographs courtesy of the IAA

 

Orion Center Calendar—Winter 2008/2009
November 26. Presentation and discussion
12:15–1:30 p.m. Mr. Christian Stadel (Department of Hebrew Language, The Hebrew University; Orion Center Master’s Thesis Award Recipient): “Hebraisms in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls” (in Hebrew)
December 2. Rothberg International School–Pontifical Biblical Institute Lecture in Memory of Miriam Sheffer***
6:00 p.m. Prof. Deborah Gera, (Department of Classics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): “Women who Wrestle with God (and Men)” (in English). Boyar Bldg. (The Rothberg International School), Room 100
December 17. Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar
12:15–2:00 p.m. Prof. Hanan Eshel (Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University): “Psalm 155: A Song of Repentance” (in Hebrew)
December 29–31. 12th International Orion Symposium
Beit Maiersdorf and the Rabin Building
January 21. Presentation and discussion
12:15–1:30 p.m. Dr. Lara Guglielmo (Department of Ancient History, University of Naples Federico II; Orion Grant Recipient): “A Physical Reconstruction of the Halakhic Section of 4Q266” (in English)
Please note: The Greenfield Scholars’ Seminars and other afternoon presentations are held in the Mandel World Center of Jewish Studies, The Rabin Building, Room 2001/2, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus. Please check the Calendar on our web site for updates, and for the Spring Semester program.

We ask our colleagues to keep checking the On-Line Bibliography for your own relevant publications and to send us additions and corrections. Thank you!

Research Grants and Awards
The Orion Center awards Research Grants to young scholars once a year. Priority is given to projects that a) can be done uniquely in Jerusalem or at the Hebrew University; and b) help to integrate the new information being gleaned from the Scrolls into the broader historical picture of Second Temple Judaism. Applica-tions are submitted in the Spring. Please visit our website for specific deadlines and application forms.

*  *  *  *  *
Orion Center Internships
We still have graduate student internships available for 2007–2008. Interns research the On-Line Bibliography, help maintain the Scholars’ Room Library, and participate in other Center projects. Call, e-mail us, or stop by for more information.

Orion Publications

Forthcoming
Text, Thought, and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity: Proceedings of a Joint Symposium by the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature and the Hebrew University Center for the Study of Christianity, 11–13 January, 2004, edited by Daniel M. Schwartz and Ruth A. Clements. STDJ. Leiden: Brill.
In Preparation:
New Perspectives on Old Texts: Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 9–11 January, 2005, edited by Esther G. Chazon, Betsy Halpern-Amaru, and Ruth A. Clements.
New Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation in Judaism of the Second Temple Period and in Early Christianity: Proceedings of a Joint Symposium by the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature and the Hebrew University Center for the Study of Christianity,  June 18–21, 2007, edited by Gary A. Anderson, Ruth A. Clements, and David Satran.

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 2008–2009, please fill in the enclosed form (or visit our website for a printable membership form); mail this form to the Center with your check (made out to “The Orion Center, Hebrew University”). Please be sure to include your name, mailing address, and other contact information, along with your gift. Gifts may be earmarked to any of the following funds:
1. Endowment Fund: To assist the Center towards achieving financial independence.
2. Library Fund: To assist in expanding the Center Library, located in the Scholars’ Room.
3. Fellowship Fund: To provide yearly grants to both young and established scholars for research in the area of Dead Sea Scrolls and related fields.
We thank our current Associates for their ongoing support!