Saturday, February 19, 2005

Altman and Crowder in the Toronto Star

On the ANE and Megillot (not yet archived) lists, Stephen Goranson notes that Neil Altman, assisted by reporter David Crowder, has an article on the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Toronto Star. Altman is "a Philadelphia-based writer who has specialized in writing about the Dead Sea Scrolls" (note that it doesn't say he specialized in the Scrolls themselves). For quite a few years he and Crowder have been promoting the daft idea that the Scrolls are medieval, a notion that has long since been shown on multiple converging grounds to be preposterous.

This piece ("Who wrote Dead Sea scrolls?") mixes their notion with a discussion of legitimate debates among archaeologists and Qumran scholars over the nature of the Qumran site and possible connections with the Essenes. I discussed another of Altman and Crowder's articles over at PaleoJudaica here and here and don't have much to add. I will say that this is yet another demonstration of the willful and harmful ignorance of the mainstream media about Qumran studies, biblical studies, and pretty much every scientific and academic discipline. The Toronto Star could easily have gotten a real archaeologist or specialist in the Scrolls to discuss the recent excavations and their implications. But they would rather get people like Altman and Crowder to promote their views, which - despite their misrepresentation of Jim VanderKam (see the second PaleoJudaica post) - no specialist takes seriously. This is a pity, because the media has been steadily eroding its own credibility for a long time, and the advent of blogs has accelerated this process since now people who are experts on subjects treated in bad articles like this one can respond in public.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Congratulations to Peter Flint!

Many congratulations to Professor Peter Flint of Trinity Western University in Canada. He has been awarded a first-tier Canadian Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies with an associated grant of $1.4 million. This is a great honor to him and to the field of Qumran studies. Well done Peter!

Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar celebrates $1.4 million dollar grant with local community

Monday, January 24, 2005

Langley, B.C.— Deemed the greatest manuscript find of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls embody mystery, drama and intrigue that continue to pique public interest.

Now endearingly referred to as “Mr. Dead Sea Scrolls,” Dr. Peter Flint—world-renowned author, professor, and award-winning researcher—will give his inaugural lecture as the Canadian Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies at Trinity Western University on Thursday, February 3, 2005. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the event is open to the public free of charge.


TWU now joins UBC and McMaster in representing Canada's three Chairs in the area of religious studies; however, TWU's is the first and only tier one appointment in the field. Tier one Research Chairs are granted $200,000 per year in research funds for seven years (tier two receive $100,000 for five)—and are reserved for professors acknowledged as international leaders in their field.


(From Trinity Western University News and Events via Bible and Interpretation News)

Tov Lectures at the Exploreum

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Mobile is hosting a lecture series over the coming three months. Emanuel Tov was the first speaker.
Dead Sea Scrolls a hot lecture topic (Biloxi Sun-Herald)



As "Dead Sea Scrolls: An Exhibition of Biblical Proportions" continues through a fourth week of record-breaking attendance at the Gulf Coast Exploreum, the accompanying lecture series launched this week brought to Mobile the man who made the scrolls more accessible.

Emanuel Tov, editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project and a Hebrew University professor, launched the lecture series on Tuesday by explaining the original efforts of scholars to piece together thousands of scroll fragments. For several decades, other scholars complained of lack of access to the historic documents.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

High Point DSS Exhibit Held Over

The From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible in America exhibition is extending its run in High Point, North Carolina:
Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit extends High Point stay


By Bob Burchette, Staff Writer
[Greensboro] News & Record

HIGH POINT -- Held over! With record-breaking attendance, "The Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible in America" exhibit will be staying at Providence Place in High Point through April 10.

"This is by far the best-attended exhibit we've had in the nine cities where we've had the exhibit," co-curator Joel Lampe said.

The High Point exhibit was originally set for Jan. 17 through Feb. 27, but the run was almost immediately extended through Easter on March 27.


PaleoJudaica readers will recall that this is the exibit associated with the antiquities dealers who are selling columns cut from a 300- to 400-year-old damaged Torah manuscript and pages from early printings of important English Bibles.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

DSS Course Update

We now have 16 students registered for the course. North American readers may not find this impressive, but let me assure you that for a British honours seminar it's quite a large number and should make for a very rich course. We will have a seminar on one student paper in the fourth week; thereafter we will cover two each week, except for the ninth week, when we will cover three. I've just added the sixteenth topic to the list on the main course page - the Groningen Hypothesis. Much of the bibliography for this topic is found in the pesharim section of the bibliography page, although other items are scattered throughout the latter. In addition I've filled in the entry for calendrical texts. The bibliography is now basically complete, although I will probably add a few more items as I find time.

Summary of Harlow Lecture

Professor Daniel Harlow of Calvin College lectured on the Dead Sea Scrolls at Central Michigan University yesterday. Central Michigan Life gives a summary:
Dead Sea Scrolls offer insight into Judaism

By Ryan Loftis
Central Michigan Life

February 16, 2005

Daniel Harlow, Calvin College associate professor of religion, spoke Tuesday evening at the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls offer proof Christians did not invent the term “Son of God,” visiting speaker Daniel Harlow said Tuesday.

“The text offers pre-Christian Jewish use of the term ‘Son of God,’” Harlow said. “Son of God is not a title for Jesus that Christians invented.”

A well-known expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Harlow gave a public lecture in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium. His appearance was co-sponsored by the philosophy and religion department and the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences.


Unfortunately, the following howler made it into the article:
About 100,000 scroll manuscripts varying in size were discovered intact. While only a dozen are readable, Harlow said they created a better understanding of the Jewish faith.

I think what Harlow actually said was that about 100,000 scroll fragments of varying sizes were found at Qumran, whereas only about a dozen manuscripts survived as reasonably intact scrolls.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Lecture for Second Week

This week's lecture, "The Damascus Document and the Community Rule," has now been posted to the course website.

Cultural Icon Watch

Too late for this year, but here's a suggested Valentine's Day present from the Atmore Advance in Alabama:
Edith Beans, owner of the Beans Store, suggests that your sweetheart might be happy with a hot relaxing bath on Valentine's Day.

"We have a lot of bath and body products including Ahava - a bath and body product that's popular because it comes from the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea Scrolls are from," Beans said. "We also have Valentine baskets, candy, cards and gourmet apples."

Thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Mobile, sales of Ahava are probably brisk. I'm not sure what Ahava is made of, but out of curiosity a couple of years ago I bought some Dead Sea mud soap. It was basically soap made with mud, which isn't all that attractive a product if you ask me.

Monday, February 14, 2005

DSS Exhibition in Mobile

I've been tracking the From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible in America museum exhibition for some time over at PaleoJudaica (most recently here). Here's another article on its stay at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Alabama. So far more than 20,000 people have visted since 20 January (2100 last Saturday), with 70,000 tickets sold.

Who Will Blog the Bloggers?

Daniel Driver (not to be confused with S. R. Driver or G. R. Driver and, as far as I know, no relation) is one of the students in my Dead Sea Scrolls course and he has a blog too. He comments on the course here and here. So it looks like you'll be able to get a student perspective as well this semester.

Welcome Daniel. Assimilation to the Blogosphere is harmless to the biological organism and provides an interface with numerous other assimilated minds.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Cultural Icon Watch

Over at PaleoJudaica I note a couple of items this morning which invoke the Dead Sea Scrolls as a cultural icon.