The Dead Sea Scrolls Seventy Years Later: Manuscripts, Traditions, Interpretations, and Their Biblical Context

John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

October 25, 2017 – October 26, 2017

Seventy years have passed since the first surviving Jewish manuscripts from the Second Temple period were discovered. Their contents, gradually made accessible to the scholarly world, have altered many long-established opinions in the realm of the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, opening a window to ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts previously known only through later copies. Further, new manuscripts containing Jewish pseudepigrapha of the Second Temple period in their original language, some as old as the third century BC, reveal an unexpectedly complex world of Jewish thought and expression, embracing such diverse realms as biblical exegesis, astronomical interests and communal life, together with messianic and eschatological expectations.

The  documents discovered at Qumran and elsewhere in the Judean Desert have provided so much new information about the historical period in Israel, starting from the third century BC through the second century AD, that scholars have discovered new perspectives, and have crafted well-grounded theories concerning the dynamics and developments within Jewish religion and society of that day. No less inportant, of course, is the new light shed on the interpretation of the New Testament, whose Jewish background in some points has become even more evident.

Intense study of the manuscripts has continued since the first achraeological finds became accessible. The huge impact of the scrolls on the field of biblical studies (in its most expansive sense!) makes it imperative that we undertake today an effort to examine and review the large field of Dead Sea Scrolls studies. The seventieth anniversary of the first discoveries seems an opportune time. The conference we are organizing aims at creating a platform for scholarly exchange concerning the present state of professional research in the field of Qumran studies.

The contributions may deal with any topic related to the Dead Sea scrolls, be it archeological, paleographic, literary, historical, social, biblical, or religious—again, in their widest understandings. The preferred approach is to present a particular theme from the perspective of the development of the related scholarly research, beginning with the first publications of a Qumran manuscript, or first/early interpretations concerning a particular topic related to Qumran research. Any other analysis or approach is also acceptable.

Henryk Drawnel
Adam Kubiś
Andrzej Piwowar

See the Conference Webpage for more information.