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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

November 2013

The Orion Center Newsletter

November 2014

Letter from the Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This newsletter marks the opening of the last semester of my five years as Director of the Orion Center, as well as the beginning of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Center. This issue includes a look at the Center's beginnings by Michael Stone, the founding Director of the Center; a retrospective survey of the Orion Bibliography; and reflections of a former Orion grant recipient. The vivid encounters that have taken place in the Center throughout these twenty years not only promote the study of Second Temple literature at the Hebrew University, but also foster unique opportunities for many scholars both in Israel and abroad for feedback and intellectual exchange. The new coeditorship of Meghillot by the Orion Center and Haifa University enhances the creative possibilities A remarkable endeavor of the Orion Center from its founding in 1995 was the creation of its Online Biblio-graphy of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature. In the last three years, with the help of generous funding from the Israel Antiquities Authority, this resource has been significantly developed (see p. 3). One can now easily locate virtually all the scholarly discussions (from 1995 to the present) of a specific text, theme, or term. I am most grateful to the IAA for their support, and to the devoted members of the bibliography team for their untiring, insightful work in reading and indexing the articles. The indexing project is but the first stage in building a complete biblio-graphy of Scrolls scholarship from its beginnings to the present. This is a reachable and essential goal, and we will be seeking ways to meet it in the coming years. When items from earlier years are both in the database and fully searchable, the Orion Bibliography will really be complete. The activities planned for the next year mark the achievements of both the past five and the past twenty years. A rich series of Greenfield seminars, featuring scholars from abroad and closer to home, is scheduled over the next two semesters. In January, at the close of the first semester, we will celebrate the completion of this stage of the Orion Bibliography project and kick off the series of anniversary events. I hope and trust that the Center will con-tinue to excel in its creative endeavors and remain a haven for textual scholarship, in the best tradition of the Hebrew University. I would like to express my appreciation to Ariella Amir and Ruth Clements; everything I have accomplished in the past five years is thanks to their constant help. I am also grateful to Shlomi Efrati and Michael Segal for their ongoing cooperation and assistance. I thank the Orion Foundation, the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund, 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

Thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of the Orion Center

Michael E. Stone, Founding Director

The first seven Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Prof. Eliezer Sukenik, of the Hebrew University, identified the documents as authentic Second Temple period texts and purchased three for the University. By 1948, he had begun to publish preliminary editions of these documents. In the 1950's, thousands of additional fragments were discovered at Qumran; these were given over for publication to an International Committee of Christian biblical scholars, but were slower to see the light. By the late 1980's, the situation had reached a crisis. In 1991, HU Prof. Emanuel Tov was nominated as Editor-in-Chief. He expanded the team of scholarly editors, and the process of publishing the Scrolls started briskly to move ahead. New texts were appearing monthly in the scholarly journals. The air was charged with the excitement of new discoveries. Various HU faculty members were giving courses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, in one or another aspect, during this time; among them, David Flusser in the Department of Comparative Religion; Jonas Greenfield in the Department of Semitic Languages; Menahem Stern, and later Daniel Schwartz, in the Department of Jewish History; Shemaryahu Talmon and Emanuel Tov in the Bible Department; and I myself in the Department of Jewish Thought. However, there existed no specific center or department in the HU Faculty of Humanities or its Institute of Jewish Studies, with the study of the Scrolls as its focus. As the stream of Scrolls texts started to appear, I realized that it was absolutely essential that this new data be integrated with our prior knowledge of Judaism in the Second Temple period. Moreover, I became convinced that these "front-page" documents of ancient Jewish creativity should be made known to the broader academic and general public. This could best be done, I felt, at the Hebrew University. The establishment of the Orion Center, then, had three goals: (1) To provide a center for the study of the Scrolls at HU, of international standing and open to scholars of all faiths and cultures; (2) To lead the way in integrating the new information from the Scrolls with our knowledge of Second Temple Judaism; (3) To provide a context where students, particularly postgraduates, might be exposed to the new texts and cutting-edge scholarship on them. I was the first Orion Director; the Assistant Director was Dr. Esther Chazon. Over the next two decades, a series of talented directors, committed to the above-stated aims, have led the Center to worldwide eminence. The Orion Online Bibliography, the symposia, the Greenfield seminars, the grants and internships-all these and more are aimed at forwarding these goals. These aims were realized first and foremost through the assistance of the Orion Foundation and the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund. They, along with many other institutions and individuals (see p. 4), have helped to shape the Orion Center as a premier force in Scrolls scholarship, both in Israel and internationally.

Center News

This past year has seen a noteworthy succession of speakers in the Greenfield Seminar series. Prof. Maxine Grossman (U. of Maryland) led with a seminar on "Body, Emotion, and Sectarian Relationships." Prof. Vered Noam (Tel Aviv) was next, speaking on historical chronicles in Second Temple and rabbinic literature. Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov (Haifa) discussed the Aramaic Enoch manuscripts; Prof. Menahem Kister (HU) examined the biblical interpretations of Paul in the light of Second Temple traditions. Prof. Betsy Halpern-Amaru (Vassar), discussed the Exodus narrative in Jubilees 48; and the year finished up with a seminar by Prof. Jan Joosten (Strasbourg) on the Psalms of Solomon. We anticipate an equally stimulating and diverse roster of speakers for the coming year.

  • Milestones: In October of this year, the Center completed the IAA-supported Bibliography Updating project. Since November 2011, we have been engaged in adding subject keyword, primary text references, abstracts, and full-text and other links to bibliography entries dating back to 1995. The task of reading the scholarly material and updating the records has been carried forward by a staff of excellent graduate students and young scholars, funded by both the IAA and the Center. The IAA-supported members of the indexing team over the past three years have been: Shlomi Efrati (coordinator, 2011-2014), Dr. Atar Livneh (2011/2012), Meron Piotrkowski (2012/2013), and Hanan Mazeh (2013/2014). Other Orion Center research staff have also contributed much to the project: Oren Abelman (2011-2014), Nadav Berger (2013), Ariel Kopilovitz (2011/12), Yakir Paz (2012), and Hannah Wortzman (Current bibliographer 2008-2014). We thank them all for their efforts; they have made the bibliography search an excellent tool.
  • Changes: In January 2015, the Center will bid farewell to Orion Director Prof. Menahem Kister. Kister, of the HU Talmud and Bible Depts., has led the Center since January of 2010, overseeing (among other things) the development of the new Orion Bibliography search engine and the implementation and completion of the Updating Project. He will be heading for a much-deserved research sabbatical; our appreciation and very best wishes go along.
  • AND, as the Updating Project has drawn to a close, we have said farewell this year to a number of long-term and shorter-term Orion staffers: Oren Ableman, Nadav Berger, Shlomi Efrati, Hanan Mazeh, and Hannah Wortzman. At the same time we welcome Neta Rosenblit, an MA student in the program on the History of the Jewish People, focusing on the Second Temple period. Neta has taken over the job of managing the Current Bibliography and indexing the database.
  • Matlow Scholars: This year's scholars are Mechael Osband, a Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan who is researching the provenience of chalk vessels found in Eretz Israel; and Asaf Gayer, a Ph.D. student in the Bible Dept. at Haifa, who is investigating Stoic ideas in 4QInstruction from Qumran. We look forward to hearing about their research in the second semester.
  • Kudos: Shlomi Efrati has been named a HU President's Scholar. The appointment will allow him to concentrate for the next three years on the research and writing of his dissertation.
  • Nadav Sharon, former Orion bibliographer, has received a postdoctoral appointment in the U. of Toronto's Centre for Jewish Studies.
  • Interns: This past year we were graced by four volunteer interns, all master's students in the Rothberg International School. Neill Brown (Tennessee); Josefin Dolsten (Sweden and New York); Ki-Eun Jang (Korea); and Janet Safford (South Carolina) worked on the Bibliography Project, beginning the task of recording items from the earlier days of scrolls scholarship. Thanks for all your good work!

Reflections of an Orion Grant Recipient

Arjen Bakker, Matlow Scholar, 2012/2013

The Jean Matlow scholarship provides a wonderful opportunity for young scholars from all over the world to immerse themselves in an academic community that is among the most rich and vibrant when it comes to Jewish studies in the Second Temple era and beyond. What makes Jerusalem an ideal place for studying the Dead Sea Scrolls is not only the physical proximity of the manuscripts and archaeological sites, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the presence of so many great scholars and motivated students, from both Israel and abroad, who together create a lively and stimulating environment for research, discussion, and mutual learning.
My own experience with the Center began in September 2012. Fresh from ulpan, I commenced working on my research project, which focused on the casting of lots and the concept of inheritance in 4QInstruction and the Rule of the Community. From the beginning, Center Director Menahem Kister generously gave time and attention to my project, and shared invaluable feedback and suggestions. Throughout my stay in Jerusalem we had frequent meetings that contributed enormously to the development of my work. Conversations with Kister, James Kugel, and many others helped me to see my work from new perspectives and added a new depth and breadth to my research.
At the university I also had the opportunity to participate in seminars conducted by eminent scholars, including Michael Stone, Menahem Kister, Esther Chazon, and Michael Segal. Towards the end of my stay, I was privileged to present my own research to an attentive audience, during the discussion hour of the Orion Center. The preparation for the session and the feedback and questions I received afterwards helped greatly in reformulating and refining my project.
An additional resource that makes study and research in Jerusalem especially fruitful is the plethora of wonderful libraries. The research room of the Orion Center and the library of the Humanities faculty provide good facilities on Mt. Scopus itself. But the more massive collections of the National Library in Givat Ram and the École Biblique near the Damascus Gate are also easy to get to. Both libraries attract scholars from all over the world and are excellent places to do research and meet colleagues.
The Orion Center is unique in the sense that it is deeply embedded in the Israeli scholarly community and at the same time brings together scholars from all over the world. This interaction is of immense value. It stimulates academic reflection and debate that transcend cultural and religious boundaries. It can push students and scholars to think beyond their preconceptions. I have been privileged to have had such an experience during my stay in Jerusalem and I am very grateful to the staff of the Orion Center for their openness and friendly support.

The first Orion grants were awarded in the Spring of 1996 to five young scholars (who went on to careers in scrolls scholarship in Israel and abroad). Orion scholarships are awarded annually, currently under the auspices of the Matlow Endowment, which was established in 2003 by Jean Matlow of Canada. The first Matlow Scholars were appointed in 2005-2006. The aim of the grants program has always been to enable advanced (doctoral and postdoctoral) students to carry out research on the scrolls in Jerusalem, at the Hebrew University.

20 Years of Orion Bibliography

Ruth Clements

From its earliest months of existence, the Orion Center had an internet presence. The Orion Net listserve and discussion group was launched in October 1995, the Center's first month of operation. By the first week of December of that year, the "Orion Home Page" had gone up; two of its original features were a list of recent editions of scrolls (a.k.a. the "DJD List") and "a bibliography of studies on the Dead Sea Scrolls which is updated weekly." The first Orion online bibliographies were compiled by volunteer intern Martine van den Berg. It soon became obvious that the weekly bibliography posting represented both a major time commitment and a major scholarly contribution of the Center; by the second semester, Martine had become a regular Orion staff member.
Dead Sea Scrolls bibliography has a rich history preceding the Orion website, of course. The first cumulative bibliographies of the Scrolls were published by Christoph Burchard (1957; covering the years 1948-1956) and William S. Lasor (1958; covering the years 1948-1957); the final division of Lasor's book, devoted to "Bibliographies of the DSS," lists seven bibliographical essays and book sections from the first decade of scrolls research. With the first issue of the Revue de Qumran in 1959, DSS bibliography began to appear in that journal on a regular basis. The RevQ bibliographers included Lasor and Burchard, Jean Carmignac, Florentino García Martínez, and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. Additional cumulative bibli-ographies were published as well: Burchard's second volume (covering 1956-1962) appeared in 1965; the Classified Bibli-ography of Bastiaan Jongeling (taking up where Lasor's volume left off [1958-1969]) appeared in 1971. The successor to that volume, in turn, was the bibliography of García Martínez and Donald W. Parry (1996), which covers 1970-1995. Also part of this general picture are general and subject-specific bibliographies compiled from time to time in diverse languages and venues by a variety of scholars, such as García Martínez, Zdzisław J. Kapera, and Felipe Sen.
During that first Orion year, the Center was approached by García Martínez to consider assuming the responsibility for the regular RevQ bibliographies; with the help of a grant from the Bollag-Herzheimer Foundation, the Orion Bibliography Project was born. Avital Pinnick, the first bibliographer hired under the aegis of the project, compiled the first "Orion Bibliography of the Dead Sea Scrolls," for the June 1999 issue of RevQ. Subsequent staff researchers (David Emanuel, Ruth Clements, Shelly Zilberfarb-Eshkoli, Nadav Sharon, Hannah Wortzman, and now Neta Rosenblit), carried forward the tasks of compiling the weekly current bibliography for the website and (until 2010) the six-month cumulative bibliography for RevQ. Orion interns have continued to play a significant role in the collection of information for new entries. In 2001, Pinnick published the first Orion cumulative bibliography (for 1995-2000); a second cumulative bibliography (for 2000-2006) was published by Clements and Sharon in 2007.
With today's sophisticated electronic resources, DSS bib-liography and the Orion Bibliography Project have entered a new phase. Under the leadership of outgoing Orion Director Menahem Kister, we have developed a sophisticated new online search engine, which allows searches along a wide variety and combination of parameters (http://orion-bibliography. From 2011 to 2014, Orion researcher Shlomi Efrati led a team of young scholars and graduate students in indexing the items in the Orion database (which now number over 17,000!)-providing abstracts, full-text links, subject keywords, and where applicable, references to biblical and Second Temple texts. This just-completed project, largely financed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, has also enabled automatic linkage between bibliography on specific scrolls and the related images in the IAA's Leon Levy Digital Scrolls Library (
As the Orion Bibliography begins its third decade, we have set our sights on our next goal: the expansion of the database to encompass the full DSS bibliography from 1948 to the present. We see this project as a significant step towards the creation of a centralized online work-space for research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, integrating the IAA and Orion Center resources and accessible to all.

New and Forthcoming Scrolls Editions and Commentaries:

Recently published: E. Qimron מגילות מדבר יהודה: החיבורים העבריים [Dead Sea Scrolls: The Hebrew Writings], Volume 2. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 2013. This new edition combines all the existing copies and fragments of a given text, noting variations between copies that overlap, and placing non-overlapping fragments so as to get a more coherent picture of the whole. In a number of cases, this placement calls into question the sequence of fragments suggested by previous editors. An additional feature of the new edition is the introduction of many new readings. Volume 1, comprising the extensive scrolls (CD, 1QS, the Hodayot, etc.), was published in 2010. Volume 2 features texts that are fragmentary, but rather well preserved, such as Instruction and MMT. Volume 3 will consist of the most fragmentary texts; it is being prepared for publication.

Several collections of previously unpublished materials are now in the works:

  1. Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from the Schøyen Collection. Edited by T. Elgvin. LSTS 71. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. Expected 2015.
    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.
  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 acquired in 2009 by Azusa Pacific University (California). It is in the final stages of preparation for publication.
  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.
And two new series are in the offing:
  1. Brill Academic Publishers and the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation have inaugurated a new official series to publish text editions of the scrolls (in the wake of DJD). The new series is entitled Dead Sea Scrolls Editions (DSSE). The series will include both editions of heretofore unpublished material and re-editions of some previously published materials in light of advancements in research. So far eight volumes have been contracted for. The series editor is Eibert Tigchelaar.
  2. The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls (OCDSS) is planned as a series of commentaries on selected sectarian scrolls, in English translation. It is meant to focus on texts that have religious or historical significance for ancient Judaism and early Christianity. It is intended to provide accessible and reliable expositions of the most important nonbiblical scrolls for nonspecialist academics in the fields of biblical studies, early Judaism, and early Christianity. Ten vol-umes are projected thus far. The series editor is Timothy Lim.

Orion Center Calendar 2014/2015*

December 17. Discussion Hour

16:15-17:45. Yedidyah Etzion, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Religion, University of California, Berkeley: "Philo of Alexandria and the Development of Jewish Law" (in Hebrew)

December 31. Jonas C. Greenfield Scholars' Seminar

12:30-14:00. Prof. Hindy Najman, Dept. of Religious Studies, Yale University: "Wisdom and Cosmology in 4Q Instruction" (in English)

January 28. Evening Celebration

18:15-20:30. Saluting the Completion of the Orion Biblio-graphy Updating Project and the 20th Anniversary of the Orion Center. Presenters and subjects include:
Pnina Shor (IAA): "The Digitization of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bibliography Project"
Shlomi Efrati: "The Updated Orion Bibliography Project"
Michael E. Stone: "The Orion Center-Past and Future"
Menahem Kister: "Sectarian Scrolls and Rabbinic Literature"
Michael Segal: "The Woman from Proverbs in New (Theological) Garb-A Study of 4Q184 and 4Q525"
Noam Mizrahi: "Text, Language, and Interpretation of a Biblical Passage from Qumran"
Esther Chazon: Concluding remarks

The Spring Semester will feature Greenfield Seminars by Lutz Doering and James Kugel (Kaduri); as well as discussions of work in progress by recent and current Orion scholarship recipients Eshbal Ratzon, Asaf Geyer, and Mechael Osband. Stay tuned to the Orion website for updates, additions, and the full Spring schedule.

The Fifteenth International Orion Symposium is being planned for the Fall semester of the next academic year; further details will be forthcoming on the Orion website.

*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.

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. Please see
for application information, deadlines, and forms

In Appreciation

We would like to express our gratitude to the Orion Foundation and the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund; Yad ha-Nadiv; the Bollag-Herzheimer Foundation; the Dorot Foundation; Yad Ben-Zvi; the Israel Antiquities Authority; and the American and Canadian Friends of HU-as well as the many individuals in Israel and abroad who make up the Orion Associates.

Thank you for your past and ongoing support!

Orion Publications

Forthcoming 2015: Tradition, Transmission, and Transformation, From Second Temple Literature through Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, Jointly Sponsored by the Hebrew University Center for the Study of Christianity, 22-24 February, 2011. Edited by Menahem Kister, Hillel Newman, Michael Segal, and Ruth A. Clements. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah. Leiden: Brill.

In Preparation

: The Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 28-30 May, 2013. Edited by Menahem Kister, Michael Segal, and Ruth A. Clements. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah. Leiden: Brill.

Dead Sea Scrolls on Tour 2014-2015

In North America: "The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times"
November 22, 2013 to April 27, 2014
The Leonardo Museum, Salt Lake City
In Europe:
July 9, 2013 to January 5, 2014
The Drents Museum, Assen, Holland

The scrolls are currently in Israel for conservation, but the exhibitions are expected to go back on the road in the near future. For information on upcoming venues, please visit: shtml

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!

TO OUR READERS: If you would like to receive the electronic version of the Newsletter please let us know by email:
The Orion Center Newsletter, ed. Ruth A. Clements
© 2014, Orion Center