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Current Newsletter

The Orion Center Newsletter

Summer 1997 Second Issue


Finally it is here: the second issue of the Orion Newsletter. In this issue you will find Scroll news, updates about events, the Orion Program for the next academic year and evaluations of the past year, which was very thriving indeed. The Associates Program started to bear its ìfirst fruits,î and during the big Scrolls conference at the Israel Museum many new people got acquainted with the Orion Center activities. The Orion Internet website underwent serious ìrenovationî and we hope this renewed site will serve you even better. We hope you will enjoy the newsletter and from Jerusalem we wish you a happy and peaceful New Year.

Over a Cup of Coffee.......Orion Highlights.

The Orion Center looks back upon a very fruitful academic year. Many seminars and public lectures were conducted and well-attended by scholars, students and the interested public. Scholars found their way to the weekly coffee hour, held in the Scholarís Room. During these informal meetings, many current topics in Scrolls research were addressed.

On February 27, 1997 Prof. Charles Greenblatt and Gila Kahila Bar-Gal of the Hadassah Medical School presented their research on ancient DNA and the Scrolls. The development of improved molecular techniques over the last few decades have made it possible to open up new areas of research in the study of the Scrolls. By extracting ancient DNA from parchment fragments one can now identify the animal used to make the parchment, and thus match together fragments of text that were previously impossible to match by simple shape and text patterns. In addition to the textual significance of the scrolls, the leather of which they were made provides us with an unprecedented collection of animal skin from antiquity. Further study using contemporaneous bone material will make it possible to study the industry, trade and distribution of the parchment.

Another coffee hour talk in the scientific field was given by Dr. Mark Spiegelman, a former surgeon from Australia, who is especially interested in the ancient biomolecules. Such may be sought, for example on Qumran leather and can teach us about the illnesses that afflicted ancient people. These biomolecules can be extracted from the leather used for the scrolls.

This kind of research is new and particular exciting in the context of Qumran research. The Orion Center is fully committed to stimulating scientific research on the Scrolls and in the coming academic year a scientific working group will explore the possibilities of further physical research on the Scrolls.

Other topics addressed during these coffee hours were "Aaronides and Levites in the Persian Era," by Dr. Joachim Schaper from Tubingen; "Barki Nafshi Hymns from Qumran," by Prof. David Seely of Brigham Young University; "The New Testament Book of Hebrews: A Modern Midrashic Investigation," by Prof. Dennis Stoutenburg from Providence College, Canada; "Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls," by Prof. Karl Donfried of Smith College, Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University and a Fellow of the Orion Center. The Orion Center wants to express its gratitude for all these enriching contributions and is looking forward to the next academic year.


Summer 1997 Page 2

Orion Center Developments

Michael E. Stone, Director of the Orion Center visited the United States and Australia in January and February. In Washington he reached an agreement for exchange of publications with the Library of Congress, while a gift of a number of important Scrolls volumes was received from Mr. Hershel Shanks of the Biblical Archaeology Society. He also met with friends of the Center in Washington and New York.

In Australia he delivered four public lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Orion Center, in Sydney, Melbourne and Surfers Paradise. These were extremely well attended. The Right Honorable Sir Zelman Cowan, past Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Dr. Davis McCaughey, past Governor of the State of Victoria agreed to be Patrons of the Associates of the Orion Center. Michael Stone met with representatives of the Shagra Young Leadership group of the NSW Friends of the Hebrew University and had a breakfast meeting with the Network Young Leadership of the Victorian Friends. Shagra has supported the Center in the past in purchasing the microfiche set of the Dead Sea Scrolls and is now undertaking a new project on behalf of the Orion Center. A dozen distinguished Jewish and non-Jewish Australians attended a luncheon given by Dr. McCaughey at University House, University of Melbourne, dedicated to the Orion Center. The importance of the Centerís work for the Jewish and Christian communities was stressed. Professor Stone was interviewed for the National Radio by Rachael Kohn, and on the most popular talk shows in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as for the Australian Jewish Press.

M. Alexandre Defay, Conseiller Cultural, scientifique et de coop(ration, Ambassade de la France en Isra(l, accompanied by M. Cyril Sultan, visited the Orion Center on March 17, 1997. In talks with Orion Director, Michael Stone, possibilities of cooperation between the Center and the French University community were investigated, including visits to the Center of French professors and students in the field.

The Bolag-Herzheimer Foundation of Basel, Switzerland, has made a three-year grant to enable the Center to establish a comprehensive bibliography of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This will expand and supplement the current bibliography on the Internet site, and Dr. Avital Pinnick has been appointed as Director of the Orion Bibliography project. The Bibliography is currently indexed by author and the new grant will enable us to index it by subject as well. Thanks are expressed to Sigi Daniel of the Department of Information and Public Relations for his counsel.

The Center acknowledges two important archival gifts received through Prof. Emanuel Tov; the proofs of the plates of the early volumes of DJD and a copy of the hand written concordance of the Dead Sea Scrolls prepared by the first editorial team.

At the end of May the Governors of the Orion Foundation visited the Orion Center. A week later, the Delegation of the French Friends of the Hebrew University, led by Claude Trink and J. Kalfou, visited the Orion Scholar's Room. Professor Stone has been invited to Paris for a function of the French Friends next year.

Israel Radio Station 1 broadcasted five sessions on the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which Prof. Stone and Dr. Chazon were interviewed by Benny Handel on topics related to the Scrolls, the Qumran sect, their religious life and the background of Second Temple Judaism.

Summer 1997 Page 3

A New Volume in the DJD Series: The Damascus Document (4Q266-273)

The official publication series of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, has published Volume 18. The volume contains the manuscripts from Qumran Cave 4, identified as the Damascus Document, a sectarian document known already a century ago from the discovery of the Cairo Geniza.. The translations and commentary are rendered by Joseph M. Baumgarten on the basis of transcriptions by Jozef T. Milik, with contributions by Stephen Pfann and Ada Yardeni. The DJD Series is published by Clarendon Press in Oxford and the chief editor of the project is Prof. Emanuel Tov of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. They aim to publish all Qumran material by the turn of the era.

The text shown is fragment 3.i from 4QDamascus Documenta (4Q266, from: DJD 18, p 40; Plate III) and parallels the Cairo Damascus Document (CD) IV.6-4.

Summer 1997 Page 4


Third International Symposium 4th-8th February, 1998

The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery

This year we celebrate the centennial of the discovery of the Damascus Document in the Cairo Geniza (CD) and also the recently published DJD edition of the Qumran Damascus Document Manuscripts. Since its initial discovery, CD sparked a lively debate particularly about its sectarian origins and halakha, issues with far-reaching implications not only for the development of Jewish Law but also for the very nature of Second Temple period Judaism and its continuity into the early medieval period. With the publication of all the manuscripts, the time is ripe for renewed study and assessment of this important document, its multi-faceted content and form, its literary history, its place in the Qumran corpus, the light it sheds on Qumran and on fields of Judaic studies on which it impacts: history, language, paleography, and codicology. The Damascus Document Symposium provides a special opportunity to bring together scholars working in different disciplines and in different periods including the medieval Geniza context.

Fifty Years after the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls An International Conference

You have probably heard about it: a big conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July 20th-25th.The conference was well-attended by scrolls scholars, interested public and press representatives from all over the world.

The Orion Center was present as well. On Sunday the 20th a reception for Orion Affiliates was held at Maison Belge Faculty Club on the Givat Ram Campus, where many Orion scholars and friends met. On Monday, the 21st, Orion Center Associate Director Dr. Esther Chazon delivered a lecture on "The Function of the Qumran Prayer Texts." The lecture was well attended and well received. During the conference a lot of attention was paid to all types of computer-assisted research, and that is where the Orion Center came in as well. During four sessions the Orion Center presented its activities with the help of computer animations, while in another room the Orion Internet Site was on display. Both the presentation and the Internet browsing were well-visited and many people expressed their interest in the activities of the Orion Center. This will result in new extensive contacts with scholars and interested public. .

Orion Center/Shrine of the Book Public Lectures


Tuesday, December 16, 1997: Dr. David Satran, Hebrew University Second Temple Literature and Early Christianity Israel Museum, 16.00-17.00

Tuesday, February 3, 1998: Prof. Stefan Reif, Cambridge University: From Qumran to Cairo: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Cairo Geniza

. Orion Associates Program

The Orion Associates Program was created to give people the oppotu.nity to receive current information about the Dead Sea Scrolls while supporting the Orion Center. We would like to thank everyone who has so gen.erously given us the sup.port we need. By becoming an Associate, you have joined a growing circle of people committed to realizing the full potential and promise of the Dead Sea Scrolls in their his.torical context and their contemporary implications for Judaism and Christianity.

. Special thanks to Mr. Frank McGrath of Sydney, Australia, who generously supported the Center in the amount of $ Aus 650.

Supporters The following people have become Supporters of the Orion Center ($100): Leslie and Sophie Caplan (Australia) John Edwards (Australia) Lorraine and Hugo Gold (Australia) Lowe Lipmann (Australia) John C. Reeves (USA) Ziva Shavitsky (Australia) Reca Stone (Australia)

Friends The following people have become Friends of the Orion Center ($50): George J. Brooke (UK) Leon Cebon (Australia) Sidnie W. Crawford (USA) Elizabeth Even-Tzur (Australia) Anthony Frumar (Australia) John Green (Australia) Charlotte Hempel (UK) Ilana Lowe (Australia) Nathalie Marmot (Australia) R.J & J.A. OíHara (Australia) M. Oxenburgh (Australia) Morris Owen (Australia) L.E. Pharo (Australia) Mr. and Mrs. Schneider (Australia) Zvi Henri Szubin (USA) Claude Trink (France) Dora Velan (Australia)

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