70 Years of Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls

On August 6, 2017, at the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, the first plenary session celebrated “70 Years of Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls”. The four papers look at various ways in which the Dead Sea Scrolls enhance our knowledge of early Jewish literature.

Chairperson: Esther Chazon

Devorah Dimant: The Dead sea Scrolls and the Jewish Apocryphal Literature

Emmanuel Tov: The Exegesis of the Bible Enriched by the Dead Sea Scrolls

Hindy Najman: Rethinking the Contours of the Biblical Corpus through the Lens of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Michael Segal: On Writing and Rewriting in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls

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Biblical Exegesis in Second Temple Literature (Bar Ilan)

Below are videos of the papers from the “Biblical Exegesis in Second Temple Literature” section of the conference “Biblical Exegesis through the Ages” at Bar-Ilan University on May 9, 2018.

דבורה דימנט (אוניברסיטת חיפה) ‘כתוב בספר’: ספרים ולוחות בספרות ארמית יהודית מימי הבית השני

Moshe J. Bernstein (Yeshiva University), “Reading the Genesis Apocryphon as Biblical Commentary”

 

Michael Segal (Hebrew University), “Early Biblical Exegesis in the Septuagint”

 

אסתי אשל (אוניברסיטת בר-אילן), “ושאלו להון ספרא וחכמתא וקושטא” :לימוד והעברת ידע במגילה החיצונית ובספרות קרובה

Lawrence H. Schiffman (New York University), “Biblical Exegesis in the Temple Scroll”

James Kugel (Bar-Ilan University), “The Legendization of Midrash in Second Temple Time”

 

Sidnie White Crawford, “The History of Qumran and its Library: A New Synthesis”

Professor Sidnie White Crawford (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) summarises the latest scholarship on the Qumran library of 800-900 fragmentary manuscripts from the mid-third century BCE to the late first century CE, and the history of the sect responsible for the collection and its scribal/learned characteristics. Her public lecture was delivered on January 25, 2018, on the occasion of receiving a D.Theol honoris causa from the University of Uppsala.

David Jeffrey – Interpreting the Bible in Art: Rembrandt’s Bathsheba

Professor David Jeffrey (Baylor University) discusses Rembrandt’s Bathsheba, in a lecture delivered at the Lanier Theological Library on October 7, 2017.

The tradition of biblical commentary in the West is venerable and rich. From the outset, theology was essentially commentary on the biblical text exclusively. What is less well recognized today is the extensive role both literary and visual artists played in shaping the way people understood and applied biblical texts. In this lecture, David Jeffrey looks at some of the ways both late medieval and Reformation commentary dealt with one of the most awkward passages in biblical history, the relationship between King David and Bathsheba. Because of David’s key role in the lineage and typology of the Messiah, the story in 2 Samuel 11 produced a range of fascinating responses from both verbal and visual commentators, but perhaps none more profound than that of Rembrandt in his 1654 Bathsheba.

Rewriting the Exodus: Susan Docherty’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

On May 23, 2016, Professor Susan Docherty (Newman University, Birmingham) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, “Rewriting The Exodus”.

The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries.

In Graeco-Roman times, the large number of Jews living outside of Palestine in cities and towns throughout the Empire particularly enjoyed celebrating Moses as a Hebrew hero who triumphed over hostile foreign powers. One of the most interesting of these retellings, known as the Exagoge, takes the form of a Greek Tragedy. I will discuss the interpretation given to the Exodus in this play, and how this compares to that found in other early Jewish sources and the New Testament.

This text raises questions which are still relevant today, including how far religion can be assimilated to different cultures, and how free theologians should feel to adapt authoritative sacred texts to respond to new circumstances.

The lecture is available for viewing on Panopto:

 

Louis Feldman: “Why were the Maccabees opposed to the Greek Religion and Culture?”

On December 9, 2004, Professor Louis Feldman (October 29, 1926 – March 25, 2017) lectured on the question, “Why were the Maccabees opposed to the Greek Religion and Culture?“(mp3; lecture beginning at 1:12).

The talk is made available by Yeshuva University’s YUTorah Online.

 

 

The Historical Reliability of the Bible – Francesca Stavrakopoulou

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On January 17, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Historical Reliability of the Bible“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou provides a summary of mainstream scholarship on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.

The interview is available in mp3 audio format (28:56).

Lawrence Schiffman – 2006 Stroum Lectures: The Religion of The Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor Lawrence Schiffman (University of Chicago) delivered the 1990 Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, “Creation, Revelation, and Redemption: The Religion of The Dead Sea Scrolls”.

Lecture 1: God, Humanity & The Universe in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Lecture 2: Scripture, Law & The Life of the Dead Sea Sect

Lecture 3: Apocalyptics, Messiahs, and the End of Days

Peter Flint on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament

The late African biblical scholar Dr. Peter Flint delivers a lecture introducing the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relevance for understanding the New Testament, on January 16, 2012 at El Shaddai Ministries, Tacoma, WA.

Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls: TWU Dead Sea Scrolls Institute

On February 23, 2016, the Trinity Western University (TWU) Dead Sea Scrolls Institute hosted a series of talks on the Dead Sea Scrolls, “Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls”.

The Dead Sea Scrolls provide fresh perspective on both the words of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and ancient Jewish world of the New Testament. As the library of a specialized Jewish scribal community, they also reveal how ancient people and communities rendered their religious traditions relevant to their own culture. Many readers of the Bible today face this same task: scripture is at once ancient and sacred, yet its contemporary relevance is not always evident. Through presentations and discussions with four TWU alumni and authors of recently published books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, our evening will explore how the group that penned and preserved the scrolls navigated this dynamic in their own search for meaning. Join authors Dr. Andrew Perrin, Dr. Kipp Davis, Dr. Marvin Miller, Dr. Dongshin Chang, and Dr. Peter Flint as they detail how ancient writers encountered and innovated the biblical past by extending prophecy, claiming revelatory dreams, rethinking covenant theology, and crafting and circulating letters.

Dr. Peter Flint – The Dead Sea Scrolls: What Can They Teach Us?

Dr. Peter Flint (Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies at Trinity Western University) provides a fresh introduction to the Qumran texts and archaeology in light of his recently published book “The Dead Sea Scrolls” (Abingdon, 2013).

Dr. Andrew Perrin – History Revealed: The Eras of Empires in Daniel and Beyond

Dr. Andrew Perrin (Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Trinity Western University) explores the rewriting of apocalyptic history in the book of Daniel and ancient Judaism in light of his recently published book “The Dynamics of Dream-Vision Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls” (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015).

Dr. Kipp Davis – Forging Reputations of National Icons: Chuck Norris and the Prophet Jeremiah

Dr. Kipp Davis (Scholar in Residence at Trinity Western University) details the cultural and literary development of famed figures today and in antiquity, with an eye to the prophet Jeremiah’s life beyond the Bible. A detailed treatment of the Jeremiah traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls may be found in his recently published book “The Cave 4 Apocryphon of Jeremiah and the Qumran Jeremianic Traditions: Prophetic Persona and the Construction of Community Identity” (Brill, 2014).

Eva Mroczek on “The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity”

Dr. Eva Mroczek talks about her landmark book, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, June 2016), in a “Frankely Judaic” podcast from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. The host of “Frankely Judaic” is Jeremy Shere.

Mroczek discusses:

  • the importance of the Dead Sea scrolls for understanding the literary production of the works which became the Bible and works which did not become the Bible, such as the books of Enoch;
  • the depiction of David as an angelic scribe or bard in the first century CE;
  • that there is no biblical book of Psalms in the Second Temple Period;
  • the Hellenistic understanding of the writing of Genesis and Exodus evidenced by the book of Jubilees.
  • that the ways ancient Jews thought about scripture “goes far beyond the Bible that we now have”

Robert Alter on Unorthodox Bible: Esther, Song of Solomon, Jonah

Professor Robert Alter (UC-Berkeley) discusses the three books of the Bible which might be considered the “most unorthodox: the two books that never mention the word God (the Book of Esther, the Song of Songs) and the book that pushes back against religious nationalism (the Book of Jonah).” The discussion is with Scott Saul in Chapter & Verse, a books-and-arts podcast from UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities.

In the Book of Esther, a story that veers into sex comedy, a beautiful Jewish commoner joins a Persian king’s harem and contrives to save her people. In the Song of Songs, two lovers engage in a dance of mutual seduction that encourages us, as readers, to “be drunk with loving.” And in the Book of Jonah, a man who refuses to preach to his enemies is swallowed by a giant fish — God working in magical as well as mysterious ways.

Sylvie Honigman on 1 & 2 Maccabees

In three videos for Ancient Jew Review, published March 24, 2016, Dr. Sylvie Honigman (Tel Aviv University) discusses her book, Tales of High Priests and Taxes (University of California Press, 2014).

The book focuses on the use of narrative patterns in 1 & 2 Maccabees to reconstruct the story. Our hour-long interview has been condensed into three segments: on the use of narrative patterns, how to read the Maccabees, and the meaning of ioudaismos/hellenismos.

H/t: Jim Davila

 

Craig Keener’s Video-Lectures on Acts

Those of you who have not read all of Professor Craig Keener’s 4,640-page, four-volume commentary on the Book of Acts (2012-2015) may enjoy his easy-access series of 23 one-hour video-lectures on Acts (2016):

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Jonathan Ben-Dov: Reinterpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments via the Watcher/Fallen Angel Tradition

Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov (George and Florence Wise Chair of Judaism in the Ancient World, University of Haifa) “explores the reinterpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments from Lebanon as a representation of the myth of the Watchers” in a paper delivered at Boston College on November 20, 2013, “Iconography and Myth: From Nebuchadnezzar to the Fallen Angels”.

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