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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

November 2013

Letter from the Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over this past year, Orion has proved itself a center for scrolls scholarship on diverse fronts. The Greenfield Scholars’ seminars featured topics ranging from the Book of Daniel and its reception to textual problems and theological notions in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. The highlight of the year was the 14th International Orion Symposium, which was dedicated to the exploration of the religious worldviews reflected in the scrolls. Thirteen participants, seven of them from abroad, gave insightful lectures on a number of facets of this key area for the understanding of the scrolls in particular and of Second Temple Judaism more generally. A session in the World Congress of Jewish Studies dealt with the multifaceted relationship between the world of Qumran and the world of the Bible (on all these, see p. 2). We are particularly happy that young scholars were able to contribute remarkably original studies in the framework of various Center activities, alongside more established scholars. The Center’s Bibliography Project has taken a significant step forward. A bibliography search now yields much more information about the content of books and articles, the texts they interpret, and the passages from the Hebrew Bible upon which they touch (see facing column, and especially the instructions on pp. 3–4). At the same time, we have progressed in cataloguing much more of the material in the bibliography. This work was financed to a large extent by the Israel Antiquities Authority. These present achievements are due to the committed and thoughtful work of the developer of the search database and the young scholars working on the bibliography team; I extend to them my thanks for all their efforts. We are proud to announce the publication of two volumes of proceedings of previous symposia (see p. 6); my sincere thanks to Dr. Ruth Clements for her efforts towards this double achievement. In another exciting development, volume 10 of Meghillot, the Hebrew journal for the research of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has just been published (see p. 6). The 11th volume is already in preparation, and we hope it will appear in less than a year. I wish to thank Dr. Michael Segal and Dr. Jonathan Ben- Dov for their invaluable assistance in organizing the symposium and the Congress session, respectively. I want also to thank Prof. Shlomo Naeh for his constant support of the Center. As always, I would like to express my appreciation to the dedicated Orion staff and researchers. Likewise, I thank the Orion Foundation and the IAA for their generous funding; and the Hebrew University, the American and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, the Orion Associates in Israel and abroad, and the Orion Academic Committee, for the diverse ways in which they support the work of the Center.

Menahem Kister

TO OUR READERS: If you would like to receive the electronic version of the Newsletter please let us know by email: Orion Center Newsletter, ed. Ruth Clements © 2013, Orion Center

The Orion Bibliography: New Developments and Continuing Progress

As regular users of the Orion Online Bibliography have probably discovered by now, this year has seen the development of yet another phase in our continuing effort to expand the capabilities of this scholarly tool. We have moved the entire bibliography (which for all of its previous existence has been “resident” on a local Orion computer) to an online working database of Drupal design. In consequence, both the capabilities of the search engine and the mechanics of maintaining and enlarging the database have drastically changed, although the user interface remains basically the same.
The most important addition, powered by Drupal, is a sophisticated keyword search, accessed by a newly added button at the top left of the bibliography page (see diagram on p. 3). One may perform a search either by typing in a search term or by selecting a term from the primary keyword list. Within that results list it is possible to further narrow the search using the bibliographical or content delimiters that are part of the main search engine (e.g., searching by author or date, searching for specific Qumran documents). It is also possible to generate a keyword list from within a particular record. For example, one might open a record that has “rewritten Bible” as one of the keywords; a click on that keyword within the record will generate a list of all other records that contain “rewritten Bible.” We invite you to experiment with the new capabilities of the search and to send us feedback, questions, and suggestions for further refinements.
In the meantime, we persevere in our project of updating older (and more recent) items with fulltext and other links, abstracts, and keyword information according to the new system. About 60% of existing entries (dating from 1995 to the present) have been updated. At some point in the near future, we hope to begin adding links to the photographs in the IAA’s Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library database (see p. 5). The bibliography staff has seen a few changes. Meron Piotrkowski has moved on; Nadav Berger and Hanan Mazeh have joined the project. In addition, our four new Orion interns (see p. 2) will be using their talents for various facets of the updating project. We want to thank both past and present Bibliography staffers for their dedicated and careful work.
As always, we appeal to our users to help keep us up to date. Please send us new entries—for both your own work and that of other people. If you can supplement the reference with an abstract, a PDF, or a fulltext link (including links to academia. edu and similar personal posting sites), it is that much easier to supply the keywords for your reference. We thank our colleagues for your ongoing support and interest and look forward to hearing from you.

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
Web site:

International Scholarship at Orion:

The 14th International Orion Symposium

A primary aim of Orion Center symposia is to create a venue for international scholarly discussion of cutting-edge issues in the study of the scrolls. The 14th International Symposium, “Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” held this past spring, admirably met this goal. Scholars from Israel, Europe, and North America convened from May 28 to 30 at the Hebrew University to share their insights. Papers addressed broad theological themes (dualism, determinism, election, covenant, divine attributes, human moral agency); more pointed concepts within the scrolls (notions of heaven, the spirit, the Son of Man; apocalyptic in the scrolls); and specific exegetical and interpretive problems. In addition to the featured papers, short presentations were offered by a few younger Israeli scholars, including doctoral students. In all cases, careful attention to texts was able to shed new light on the worldviews, beliefs, and forms of religious experience reflected in the scrolls. Symposium sessions were well attended by academics from across Israel as well as visitors from abroad; the liveliness of the scholarly interchanges in symposium sessions testified to the timely importance of bringing such issues into the center of scrolls study. The resulting proceedings volume, now in the beginning stages of preparation, should provide a spur to further work in this important area.

For abstracts of the conference papers, please visit our website:

. . . And the 16th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Orion Center and the Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of Haifa jointly organized a plenary session on Qumran for the 16th World Congress of Jewish Studies (July 28–August 1). Entitled “Qumran and the Bible: Continuity, Innovation and Interpretation,” the packed session addressed both larger methodological issues and specific interpretive developments.
Gary Anderson discussed the development of the notion of “Torah” in the Second Temple period. James Kugel compared conceptions of the self in Second Temple literature with biblical views. Devorah Dimant compared the biblical figures of Jeremiah and Baruch with their representations in Qumran literature. Jonathan Ben-Dov responded to the three main lectures. Short papers by Vered Noam, Michael Segal, and Menahem Kister dealt with other aspects of the relationship between biblical and postbiblical literature: the problem of differentiating between “biblical” and “postbiblical” (Segal); allusions to biblical passages in rabbinic and Qumran literature (Noam); biblical allusions as a tool for literary and historical analysis (Kister).
The session provided an international forum for a stimulating exchange of viewpoints on this important topic. Our thanks to the World Union of Jewish Studies for making available the setting for this discussion.

Center News


ver the course of this past year, the lineup of Orion Center speakers and presenters truly reflected our founding mandate to be a hub of international scrolls scholarship. The year began with a seminar on the “Son of Man” in Daniel and the gospels, jointly led by Hebrew University scholars Dr. Michael Segal (Hebrew Bible) and Dr. Serge Ruzer (New Testament). Subsequent seminars were conducted by Prof Eileen Schuller (McMaster University, Canada), on contemporary questions for the study of the Hodayot; and Dr. Ryan E. Stokes (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Texas, USA), on sin and the Satan in Second Temple literature. Thought-provoking presentations were also given by last year’s Orion Matlow Scholars: Arjen Bakker (University of Leuven, Belgium) spoke about the casting of lots and the concept of inheritance in some Qumran texts; Nadav Sharon spoke about the portrayal of the Roman conquest in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The year finished up with a stimulating workshop led by Prof. Elisha Qimron (Ben-Gurion University), Dr. Alexey Yuditsky (Academy of the Hebrew Language) and Chanan Ariel (of the Academy and the Hebrew University), on identifying new readings in two Qumran scrolls. This year’s lineup (Calendar, p. 6) promises an equally stimulating series..

  • In many ways, the high point of the year was the 14th International Orion Symposium, held May 28–30. As always, special thanks are due to Ariella Amir, Orion administrator, whose energies and organizational efforts smoothed out many rough spots, before, during, and after.
  • Interns: Magdalena Füllenbach, of Hamburg, Germany, came to us as a full-time intern in April and May. She finished cataloguing the Scholars’ Room offprints collection; helped with an outside research project; and assisted with the Spring Symposium. Thanks, Magdalena! We are joined this Fall by four new Orion interns, all master’s students in the Rothberg International School. Josefin Dolsten comes to us from Sweden and New York, Ki-Eun Jang from Seoul, Korea; Neill Brown hails from Tennessee, Janet Safford from South Carolina. They will put their combined skills to work on many fronts, but particularly on the Bibliography Project
  • Congratulations to Prof. Shalom Paul, Orion Academic Committee member, whose book, Isaiah 40–66: Translation and Commentary (Eerdmans, 2012), received the 2013 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication award for best book relating to the Hebrew Bible.
  • Our good wishes to Orion staffer Oren Ableman, who has taken a position as staff researcher for the Israel Antiquities Authorities Leon Levy DSS Digital Library (see p. 5).
  • Milestones: Mazal tov! to staffers Meron Piotrkowski and Hannah Wortzman on the births of their respective daughters. And our heartfelt condolences to Ruth Clements on the loss of her mother; and to Orion founder Michael Stone on the loss of his wife, Dr. Nira Stone.

Damascus Document and Ben Sira Online!

As part of its ongoing drive to digitize all the documents in its collection, the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit of the Cambridge University Library has just added beautiful digital photographs of the Damascus Document (A and B) and the Cairo Genizah fragments of Ben Sira to its online digital collection. The images and descriptions were prepared by the Genizah Research Unit, with funding from the Friedberg Genizah Project and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK:

Introducing: The Orion Bibliography Keyword Search

Dead Sea Scrolls Digitization Project—Update on Work in Progress

Pnina Shor and Oren Ableman

Last year, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) launched the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library website (, in collaboration with Google and with the support of the Leon Levy and Arcadia funds. A primary aim of the website is to make available to the scholarly and general public all photographs of the Dead Sea documents at the IAA’s disposal, along with other pertinent data. The website currently includes about 4000 PAM negatives (the original infrared photographs taken under the auspices of the Palestine Archaeological [Rockefeller] Museum); all photographs taken by the IAA photographers up to the beginning of the digitization project in 2011; 200 new images of the scroll plates compiled by the original team of scholars; and some 1000 new spectral images of individual fragments in color and near-infrared wavelengths. The new images are captured with a cutting- edge multispectral imaging technology developed by the MegaVision Company. The key aspect of this technology is the simultaneous production of multiple images of every fragment in different wavelengths/bands, which are then combined by the camera into single high-fidelity color images for viewing and study. Since its launching, the website has had over 660,000 visitors, with over 120,000 returnees. The website also includes a comment section, which has become a forum for lively discussion among both scholars and the general public. These high quality images on the website are the best images of the Dead Sea Scrolls available to date. Thus, scholars have been able to decipher texts which have been illegible until now. A taste of the possibilities offered by the new technology was presented last April in an Orion Center seminar. Prof. Elisha Qimron, Dr. Alexey Yuditsky, and Chanan Ariel presented new readings in 4Q180 and 4Q181 (Pesher on the Periods), based on these new images of the scrolls. At the time the website went “live” only a small fraction of the scrolls had been imaged with the MegaVision system. In the year that has passed since then, we have been working diligently to capture images of all the scrolls in the IAA collection. To date, we have photographed approximately 50% of the scroll plates and produced about 20,000 new images. We are preparing now to upload the new color image and highest near-infrared image of the recto of every fragment, at the beginning of January 2014. This will greatly increase the quantity and quality of Dead Sea Scrolls images available online. In addition to the new images we will be updating the website and adding a few new features. Problems with the display or uploading of some images have been fixed. We have corrected errors in the data and added additional information about each image. We have also worked to improve the search function and make the website more user-friendly. Furthermore, the website will now be available in two additional languages, German and Russian. In the future we are planning to upload images of all of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the website. Other planned improvements include more options for image manipulation; advanced search options and tools for scholars; transcriptions and translations. The first aim of the digitization project, from its inception, has been the development of a monitoring system to track the well-being of the scrolls. The monitoring system is being developed for the IAA by a team from the University of Eastern Piemonte, Italy and Snapshot Spectra, USA. It is based on the comparison of multiple images of selected fragments, taken with identical parameters at different times, in order to check for minute changes. This is the only noninvasive way to monitor the entire surface of a fragment; it is automatic and very quick —it takes only four minutes to collect multiple exposures of one fragment. Using this method we will be able to track the status of the scrolls and detect degradation before it is visible to the human eye. Parallel to the progress with the website, this monitoring system is now in its final stages of development; we expect to implement the system by the end of December. To complement the monitoring process, we are collaborating with the Casali Institute of the Hebrew University to analyze the chemical and physical properties of the scroll materials (parchment and ink). All in all, we are pleased with the progress of all facets of the project.

Forthcoming Scrolls Publications:

Several collections of previously unpublished scrolls materials are now being prepared for publication.

  1. Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from the Schøyen Collection. Edited by T. Elgvin. London: T&T Clark, forthcoming, 2014. The volume includes fragments of thirty scrolls from the collection of Martin Schøyen, most previously unpublished. Twenty-three represent biblical texts, another four, apocrypha or pseudepigrapha (Tobit, 1 Enoch). Artefacts to be published include a “scroll jar,” the wrapper of the Temple Scroll, and an inkwell and incense altar. Text editors: T. Elgvin, E. Eshel, J. Dusek, and others; artefact editors: J. Gunneweg, I. Rabin, N. Sukenik, and T. Elgvin.
  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, Supplementary Volume. Edited by J.H. Charlesworth and W. Yarchin, et al. PTS Dead Sea Scrolls Project. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck; Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, forthcoming. This volume includes the five scroll fragments (four biblical texts and an unidentified fragment) acquired in 2009 by Azusa Pacific University (California).
  3. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary collection. In 2010–2011, SWBTS (Texas) acquired eight scroll fragments, mostly of biblical manuscripts. The critical edition is now in preparation

Orion Center Calendar, Winter 2013/2014*

November 14. Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar 10:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Prof. Maxine Grossman, Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, University of Maryland: “Body, Emotion, and Sectarian Relationships” (in English)

December 17. Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar 4:15–6:00 p.m. Prof. Vered Noam, Department of Hebrew Culture Studies, Tel-Aviv University: “Why did the Heavenly Voice Speak Aramaic? Or: On Historical Chronicles from Qumran to Rabbinic Literature” (in Hebrew)

January 9. Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars’ Seminar 12:15–2:00 p.m. Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov (Department of Bible, University of Haifa): “The Aramaic Copies of the Enochic Astronomical Book: Codicology and Ideology” (in Hebrew)

Stay tuned to the Orion Website for updates, additions, and the full Spring program. *Please note: Unless otherwise specified, Orion programs are held in the Mandel World Center of Jewish Studies (Rabin Building), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus.

Hot Off the Press: Meghillot 10

We are happy to announce the publication of volume 10 of Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Meghillot, launched in 2003 by the University of Haifa and the Bialik Institute, is the only Israeli, Hebrew language scholarly periodical devoted to scrolls study. This will be the first issue published under the joint auspices of the Orion Center and the University of Haifa’s Faculty of Humanities. The volume includes papers by Chanan Ariel and Alexey Yuditsky; Jonathan Ben-Dov; Hanan Birenboim; Gideon Bohak; Gregor Geiger and Uri Mor; Liora Goldman; Moshe Lavee; Menahem Kister; Ronny Reich; and Emanuel Tov; as well as a review by Devorah Dimant.

Special publisher’s offer for overseas customers in honor of the publication of vol. 10: Purchase Meghillot 1–10 (8– volume set) for $150, including free airmail shipping: keywords=meghillot&x=-357&y=-496 (the discount will automatically be applied when you order the full 8-volume set).

Contents and abstracts for Meghillot may be accessed here: abstracts

Become an Orion Associate -

and help the Orion Center foster innovative research and disseminate information on the scrolls! Visit for a printable membership form; mail this form to the Center with your check (made out to “The Orion Center, Hebrew University”). Gifts may be general or designated for specific purposes (e.g., the Bibliography Project). A special thanks to our current Associates—your interest and assistance are vital to the work of the Center and much appreciated!

Orion Center Academic Committee

Dr. Esther Chazon, Chair; Prof. Menahem Kister;
Prof. Oded Irshai; Prof. Joseph Patrich;
Prof. Shalom Paul; Dr. David Satran;
Dr. Michael Segal; Prof. Emanuel Tov

Orion Research Scholarships

The Orion Center awards research scholarships to young scholars once a year. Priority is given to research that can be done uniquely in Jerusalem or at the Hebrew University; and that integrates the new information gleaned from the Dead Sea Scrolls into the broader picture of Second Temple Judaism.
The application deadline for scholarships for 2014 is February 10, 2014.
*Go to for application information and forms.

Newly Published by Orion!

New Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation in Judaism of the Second Temple Period and in Early Christianity, edited by Gary A. Anderson, Ruth A. Clements, and David Satran. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 106. Leiden: Brill, 2013. Contents: new-approaches-study-biblical-interpretation-judaismsecond- temple-period-and-early-christianity

Hebrew in the Second Temple Period: The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of Other Contemporary Sources, edited by Steven E. Fassberg, Moshe Bar-Asher, and Ruth A. Clements. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 108. Leiden: Brill, 2013. Contents: temple-period

In Preparation: Tradition, Transmission, and Transformation: From Second Temple Literature through Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, edited by Menahem Kister, Hillel Newman, Michael Segal, and Ruth A. Clements. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah. Leiden: Brill.

Recently out from Yad Ben-Zvi: Elisha Qimron, ed. מגילות מדבר יהודה: החיבורים העבריים, כרך שני [The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Hebrew Writings, Vol. 2]. Between Bible and Mishnah. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 2013. This is the second of three planned volumes offering new editions of the Hebrew DSS texts and fragments. The volume introduces both new material reconstructions and new textual readings. Its innovative format utilizes parallel sections from various copies of a given document to complement one another, presenting as complete a composite text as possible.

Dead Sea Scrolls on Tour 2013–2014 In North America: “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times”

May 19 to October 20, 2013 Boston Museum of Science

November 22, 2013 to April 27, 2014 The Leonardo Museum, Salt Lake City faith-ancient-times/

In Europe:
July 9, 2013 to January 5, 2014 The Drents Museum, Assen, Holland exhibition/dead-sea-scrolls-13.html

In March 2014, the European exhibit will move to the Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria.

For information on upcoming exhibitions, please visit: