A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

New Dead Sea Scrolls Conference


Jim West informs us of a new conference on the Scrolls to take place in Vienna, Feb. 11-14. According to the call for papers, the intention is to explore the following:

It is well known that the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls is often neglected by scholars who are not directly involved with the Dead Sea Scrolls, while Dead Sea Scrolls specialists often focus narrowly on the scrolls themselves.

The papers of this conference should build a bridge between the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other fields of research, and therefore should not deal with the scrolls only.

This sounded refreshing: As one who moved from physics, to Biblical studies, to early Judaism, to Rabbinics, to (now) Classics and ancient history, the methodological and topical myopia of DSS studies has left a strong impression on me. Scholars seem to be interested in only a few topics, generally: the history of Biblical interpretation, textual criticism and the formation of the Hebrew Bible, pseudepigrapha, history of Jewish law, etc. All of that is interesting in its own right, but few scholars are actually interested the socio-economic situatedness of the Qumranites, papyrology (by which I mean situating papyrological analysis of DSS w/in the larger discipline of papyrology done by classicists), documentary studies, etc. The latter two in particular, a topic of which was my MA thesis, I’m convinced have much to offer, and I’ve been astonished to see play comparatively minor roles.

Then I read the preliminary list of contributors and contributions. There are some really interesting ones: Hannah Cotton revisits her “Rabbis and the Documents” (to which I have a paper criticizing, which should be out before long), Shaul Shaked on Iranian connections, which is a new idea (which sounds a priori improbable to me, but what do I know about Iran?). But alas, some things haven’t changed.

July 4, 2007 - Posted by | Academy, Dead Sea Scrolls

1 Comment »

  1. YOu really have made the rounds, haven’t you? I think that, although it may have been a daunting search of what you want to do, having such a vast exposure to different types of scholarship will be one of your advantages in the end.

    Comment by Jared | July 5, 2007 | Reply

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