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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

January 2000
Edited by A. Pinnick


Letter from the Director

The turn of a century and the dawn of a new millennium are exciting times. We are presented with a wonderful yet daunting opportunity to make our mark on a new page of human history. In supporting the establishment of the Orion Center five years ago, the Orion Foundation had the foresight to allocate a special fund to build our web site, and we have been pioneers in cyberspace ever since. Our On-Line Scrolls Bibliography, made possible by a three year grant from the Bollag-Herzheimer Foundation, is a unique resource, consulted regularly by people all over the globe. Development of the web site as an educational tool for outreach to scholars and students alike is an essential item on our agenda for the future. It is no less important for us to expand and strengthen our connections with affiliated colleagues and supporters in Israel and abroad. To this end, we began two new collaborative ventures during the past year - a program of guided tours for graduates of the Hebrew University's Institute of Jewish Studies and our first joint lecture program with Bar-Ilan University, featuring Profs. Adela Y. Collins and John J. Collins from the University of Chicago. These were welcome additions to our flourishing public lecture series at the Israel Museum and Tel Aviv University. Our Jerusalem Task Force for Science and Scrolls produced its first results this year, presented at conferences on three continents. The application of DNA, neutron activation, forensic, and physical anthropological analyses, as well as other scientific techniques, to the study of the Scrolls will continue to bear fruits as we move into the 21st century. In this, the Orion Center has been pioneering and we aspire to continue to broach new frontiers.

Our plans for the year 2000 are well underway, and the future looks very bright indeed. We look forward to sharing it with you, the members of our Orion community.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Esther Chazon


Forensics and the Scrolls

David Emanuel, Orion Center Intern

Question: What is the connection between the Israel police force and the Dead Sea Scrolls? Answer: Azriel Gorski.

Azriel currently works for the Israel National Police and uses the latest techniques in forensic science to catch criminals. He is now in the process of taking his forensic training and applying it to archaeology. Unlike other scholars of the scrolls, it is not the contents of the scrolls that are of interest to him but rather the pieces of debris, cloth and animal hair that stuck to them during their lifetime.

How can techniques in modern forensic science shed light on the lifestyle of the community that lived at Qumran over two thousand years ago? This is one of the questions that Azriel Gorski attempts to deal with in an article being published in Historical Perspectives: Jewish Perspectives from the Maccabees to Bar Kokhba in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 27-31 January, 1999. Azriel investigates two examples in this article.

The first example utilises the fact that whenever two objects come into contact they affect each other in some way, usually by depositing trace particles on each other. Azriel explains how we are able to learn more about the Dead Sea sect by examining these trace particles that have remained on the scrolls to this day. With the aid of scientific methods he shows how we are able to obtain information about peoples and technologies associated with the scrolls.

The second example examines the stitching of the parchment in order to discover more about the ways that the Dead Sea Community assembled the scrolls and the binding practices they used. Using this examination it is possible to determine the quality of the stitching and the number of persons involved in joining the scroll.

The concept of using modern forensics in ancient discoveries is a new field and Azriel Gorski is on the leading edge of its development. Azriel, who would describe himself as a "Forensic Micro-archaeologist," shows how scientific methods can provide Scrolls scholars with an objective tool to check their theories.

Gorsky is a member of the Jerusalem Task Force for Science and Scrolls.


Wisdom from Qumran

Keith Lee, Orion Center Intern

Three new volumes in the Discoveries in the Judean Desert series appeared on our shelf this month: Esther G. Chazon et al., in consultation with J. C. VanderKam and M. Brady, eds., Qumran Cave 4.XX: Poetical and Liturgical Texts, Part 2 (DJD XXIX; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999); Joseph M. Baumgarten et al., eds., Qumran Cave 4.XXV: Halakhic Texts (DJD XXXV; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999); John Strugnell et al., in consultation with J. A. Fitzmyer, eds., Qumran Cave 4.XXIV: Sapiential Texts, Part 2 (DJD XXXIV; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999). (The publication of Poetical and Liturgical Texts, Part 2, inspired the topic of this year's Orion International Symposium.)

Sapiential Texts, Part 2, contains seven manuscripts of a previously unknown composition from the Second Temple period (4Q415ff), originally dubbed "Sapiential Work A" and now known as 4QInstruction. The numerous copies attest to its importance at Qumran.

After comparing the vocabulary and ideas with the rest of Qumran literature, Prof. Strugnell concludes that 4QInstruction lacks distinctive sectarian traits such as dualism, absolute determinism, and an emphasis on Torah and commandments. Rather, it represents a general nonsectarian and post-exilic background. This important work, concludes Strugnell, provides a "missing link" between Proverbs and Ben Sira.

In keeping with its genre, 4QInstruction is replete with practical advice concerning family relationships, business transactions, discernment of financial priorities during poverty, and so on. Here is an example of advice from 4Q416: "Honor your father in your poverty and your mother in your low estate. For as God is to man, so is his father; and as a master is to a fellow, so is his mother." These texts also contain something particularly unusual: 4Q415 2 ii 1-9 instructs a female addressee on her role in the family. Direct address of a female is rare in Jewish Wisdom literature.

Sapiential Texts, Part 2, is the second and final volume in the series of sapiential texts from Cave 4. It includes a re-edition of 1QInstruction (1Q26), originally published by Jozef T. Milik in DJD I.


Prof. Michael Stone Honored

An evening of lectures was organized at Beit Maiersdorf, Hebrew University, on 14 June, 1999, to honor founding Orion Director (now Head of the Academic Committee) Prof. Michael Stone on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It also marked the publication of the second volume of Orion symposium proceedings, Pseudepigraphical Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 12-14 January, 1997, edited by Esther G. Chazon and Michael Stone, with the collaboration of Avital Pinnick (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999). Prof. Yair Zakovitch, Dean of the Faculty of Humanties, and Prof. Yom Tov Assis, Head of the Institute for Jewish Studies, introduced the lectures. Four short presentations by Dr. Esther Chazon, Dr. Adolfo Roitman, Dr. David Satran and Prof. Michael Stone followed.


Center News

We welcome two new student interns this year: David Emanuel, B.A. (Open University, London, computer science), M.Sc. (University of London, computer science) is studying for an M.A in Bible and the Ancient Near East at the Hebrew University; Keith Lee, B.A. (Cornell University, economics), M.Div. (Fuller Seminary), is working on an M.A. in Religious Studies at the Rothberg School. * Dr. Esther Chazon was interviewed by Camille Sollberg of the International Christian Radio Network on September 19, 1999. The interview may be heard at their website, http://www.icrn.com/Mission_Impact/archives.asp. * In Boston, Esther Chazon spoke about the Orion Center's work at a Tea sponsored by the American Friends of the Hebrew University. This event will be the subject of a feature article in the American Friends' Newsletter. * Orion Grant recipient Joe Zias presented his research on the skeletal remains from Qumran at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November held in Boston. He reported that the women and children buried in the auxilliary cemeteries at Qumran were not members of that ancient sect but Bedouins!


Hebrew University Alumni Program

The Orion Center took part in a new program initiated by the Institute for Jewish Studies for its graduates. The Center offered two exciting tours: Dr. Adolfo Roitman, Curator of the Shrine of the Book, led a guided tour of the exhibit, "A Day in the Life of Qumran" (12 March) and Dr. Hanan Eshel of Bar-Ilan University gave an archaeological tour of the Qumran site (June 11). The tours and outreach to Hebrew University alumni were organized by the Center's Administrative Manager, Ms. Ariella Amir.


Grant Recipients 1999-2000

* Mi-Sof Park, Ph.D. student: Repetition of Particles before Nouns in Biblical Hebrew and the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls
* G. Daniel Shtiebel, Ph.D. student: The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness in Light of the Study of Military Equipment and Strategy in Palestine of the Classical Period
* Roni Yishai, Ph.D. student: The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Six Copies of Cave 4 (4Q491-496): New Edition, Commentary and Introduction and Comparison with the Version of Cave 1 (1QM) and Other Relevant Fragments from Qumran
* Joe Zias: Qumran and the Essene Cemeteries and the Question of Celibacy: an Anthropological Re-evaluation

Publications

The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium of the Orion Center, 4-8 February, 1998, edited by Joseph M. Baumgarten, Esther G. Chazon and Avital Pinnick (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 34; Leiden: Brill, 2000), has been published.

A two-volume collection of the articles of the late Prof. Jonas C. Greenfield, Hebrew University, is in the final stages of preparation and will be published in 2000 by the Magnes Press. This work, edited by Profs. Shalom Paul and Michael Stone and Dr. Avital Pinnick, will contain 108 articles, accompanied by source and lexeme indexes. An evening of lectures to celebrate the completion of this work is planned in March, the fifth anniversary of Prof. Greenfield's death.

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