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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

January 1999
Edited by A. Pinnick

A Word from the Outgoing Director

Prof. Michael E. Stone

Events leading up to the founding of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls started early in the decade. The study of the Scrolls at the Hebrew University did not exist, for all practical purposes. The decade that has passed has been momentous in the history of Scrolls research, with the edition and publication of previously unpublished manuscripts from Qumran. The Hebrew University owns three of the Scrolls, the only university to do so. Many of the past generation of Scrolls scholars, some blessedly still with us, were affiliated with the Hebrew University. The world was busy with the Scrolls but their “home university" had no centralized research, no coherent teaching program, and 500 years of Jewish thought and literature studied only in certain aspects.

Thanks to the perceptiveness and generosity of the Orion Foundation first and foremost, and to other funds and individuals subsequently, with the support of then Dean Menahem Milson and Heads of the Institute of Jewish Studies, Joseph Hacker and particularly Yair Zakovitch, the Orion Center was founded. As I move on from the Directorship to other tasks in the Center, I wish to thank them, as well as the students of the first two years and our staff, particularly Esther Chazon and Avital Pinnick, who were unfailing in their support. Ariella Amir has been a pillar of strength as our administrator in the last couple of years. Since those exciting early days, we have grown up, but without our friends and supporters, our student volunteers and helpers, we could not do the remarkable job Orion has achieved. Today the Orion Center is well established and active. Its third volume of papers is in the process of completion. The Fourth International Symposium is being organized, lectures, internet site, and bibliography continue to develop, and more. All these programs put the Orion Center in the lead of Scrolls research.

Now, as I leave the position of founding Director, I wish to re-assert my profound conviction that what the Orion Center does has implications not only for this generation, but for coming generations of study and research into the Scrolls and into the Jewish literature and thought of the Second Temple Period. I wish Esther all success for the future of a project dear to us all.


In Appreciation

Dr. Esther G. Chazon

On behalf of the Orion Center staff, supporters, colleagues and friends all over the world, I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Prof. Michael Stone for his vision and leadership in establishing the Orion Center and in directing it for its first three years. We look forward to continuing to benefit from his wisdom and guidance as he assumes his new role as head of the Orion Academic and Executive Committees. We wish him success and happiness in his many and varied pursuits.


Jerusalem Task Force for Science and Scrolls

On Dec. 1, 1998, the Jerusalem Task Force for Science and Scrolls, organized by the Orion Center and the Kuvin Center for Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University, held its second gathering at the home of Michael Stone in Jerusalem. The purpose of this Task Force is to bring together Scrolls scholars and natural scientists, representing a range of disciplines.

A striking initial study has been conducted by Gila Kahila Bar-Gal in the laboratory of Chuck Greenblatt (Dept. of Parasitology, Kuvin Center), under the guidance of Pat Smith (Dept. of Anatomy, Hebrew University) and Scott Woodward (Brigham Young University). She has succeeded in extracting DNA to determine the animals used for making the parchment upon which the scrolls are written. Further research is projected, taking advantage of the results thus achieved and of new techniques that have become available.

Anthropologist Joe Zias of Tel-Aviv University is investigating the skeletons and other remains from the Qumran site. Mark Spigelman, a surgeon turned archeologist, is particularly interested in ancient medicine and pathology. Jan Gunneweg of the Hebrew University is analysing the clay of the Scroll jars by neutron activation. Magen Broshi, former curator of the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, facilitated access to the Scrolls. Esther Chazon, Orion Center, and Jonathan Stone, professor of anatomy at Sydney University, also attended the meeting. The Jerusalem Task Force for Science and Scrolls will make its first public presentation at the

A presentation of further results is scheduled for the April 1999 meeting in Prague of the European Committee for Micromethods for the Analysis of Parchment.

This initiative widens the area of research into the Dead Sea Scrolls. Not only shall we be able to examine the contents and teachings of the Scrolls but also how the Scrolls were manufactured and what can be learned of the people who wrote them. In short, we shall utilize a range of techniques drawn from the natural sciences to enrich our knowledge of the Qumran community in its physical as well as religious dimensions.


DJD Plates Acquisition

Laure Cadoux

Prof. Emanuel Tov, editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Committee, has made a valuable donation to the Orion Center - some of the original plates from Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, the official Scrolls publication series. These photographs are often of higher quality than the printed edition, sometimes even surpassing digitized images. The DJD plates are important documents in the history of Scrolls publication and a precious resource for scholars.

The scholar in charge of publishing a particular manuscript selects the clearest available photographs. Then Ms. Valerie Carr, a member of Prof. Tov’s staff, composes the plate gluing the photographs to a white paper or cardboard backing. Each plate is covered with a translucent page upon which she writes the instructions, the identification of the scroll(s), the photographs which were used and an outline of each fragment, in case one comes loose from the backing. Usually most fragments come from a single photograph. In instances where fragments come from several photographs, they are independently labelled.

The Orion Center now has the plates for the following volumes:

DJD VIII: The Greek Minor Prophets Scrolls from Nahal Hever
DJD X: Cave 4.V: Miqsat Maase ha-Torah
DJD XI: Cave 4.VI: Poetical and Liturgical Texts, Part 1
DJD XIII: Cave 4.VIII: Parabiblical Texts, Part 1
DJD XVIII: Cave 4.XIII: Damascus Document
DJD XXII: Cave 4.XVII: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3
DJD XXIII: Cave 11.II
DJD XXVII: Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek Documentary Texts from Nahal Hever and Other Sites


Orion Center News

Our New Interns

The Orion Internship program offers graduate students an opportunity to become actively involved in the Orion Center programs and grants them access to all research facilities available in the Center’s Scholars Room. Internships complement a program of study at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students. Students interested in applying for an internship while studying in Jerusalem should contact the Orion Center.

Orion Interns for 1998-1999:
- Laure Cadoux, M.A. (University of Geneva, Switzerland). Laure is enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Geneva and is researching the field of feminine figures in Ugarit and the Bible. This year she received a grant from the Israeli government.

- Pedro Gonçalves, M.A. and T.M. (University of Uppsala, Sweden). Pedro is currently working on a doctorate on textual anomalies in the Hebrew Bible. He is studying in Jerusalem with the assistance of the Scandinavia Scholarship in Memory of Francis and Benjamin Sperling for Studies at the Hebrew University.

Visiting Research Student for 1998-1999:
- Katell Berthelot, M.A. (Sorbonne, Paris). Katell is enrolled in the Ph.D. programme at the Sorbonne in History of Religions - Judaism. She is the recipient of a grant from the Israel Foreign Ministry. She is currently working on her PhD dissertation on the subject, “Jewish ‘Philanthropia’ and Universalism in Jewish Thought from Alexander the Great to the beginning of the 2nd c. CE,” under the supervision of Prof. Mireille Hadas-Lebel.


Orion Center Grant Recipients

- Beatriz Monco, Ph.D. student: Multiple Recensions of a Pseudepigraphic Book Transmitted in Greek at the End of the Ancient Period.

- Michael Segal, research student: Exegetical Techniques in Rewritten Bible.

- Uri Yiftach, Ph.D. student: Marriage and the Marital Arrangement: Law and Practice in the Greek Papyri from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Near East (4th c. BCE - 7th c. CE).


Web Site Update: http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il

The Orion home page has been expanded and re-designed by web site manager and chief of Orion publications, Dr. Avital Pinnick.

To help navigate the increasingly large site, a number of helpful features have been added:

1. A Search Engine on the home page allows you to search for a particular topic(s) or name(s). It provides a list of all documents in the main directories which contain the keywords;

2. A Navigation Bar at the top of each page, with a pull-down menu, takes you directly to where you want to go.

Bibliography Searches

At last it is possible to search the resources of the Orion Complete On-Line Bibliography. In November, 1998, a search script was added to the Bibliography page, allowing case-sensitive searches on names and keywords.

The Bibliography Project, which was founded to complement the annual Revue de Qumran bibliography on the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains books, articles and reviews from 1995 to the present. The searchable version, with over 1700 entries, contains books and articles but, at the present time, no reviews.

Discussion Group Archives

The archives of the Orion discussion group are now searchable on the web page. Find out what has been posted over the last three years on any topic!

The Orion e-mail discussion group is the only mailing list on the internet which is devoted to the Dead Sea Scrolls and associated literature. While anyone may join, it is intended primarily for researchers and graduate students.

You may subscribe from the web site if you have web access. Go to our Home Page, select “Discussion Group” from the pop-up menu and click on the “Go” button. Fill out the appropriate form for either Orion (individual messages) or Orion digest (day’s messages in a single message).

If you encounter difficulties, please write to the moderator, Avital Pinnick, at msorion@mscc.huji.ac.il.


Symposium Proceedings

The appearance of the First Symposium volume, Biblical Perspectives in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. M. E. Stone and E. G. Chazon; Leiden: Brill, 1998), was marked by an evening of lectures and discussion at the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem, on June 22, 1998.

The second volume, Pseudepigraphical Perspectives in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. E. G. Chazon and M. E. Stone, with the collaboration of Avital Pinnick; Leiden: Brill, 1999) appeared in December, 1998. The third volume, The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery, is in preparation.

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