By MICHAEL W. GRUNBERGER
In connection with the April 29 opening of the "Scrolls from the Dead Sea" exhibition, the Library cosponsored a symposium on the scrolls with Baltimore Hebrew University (BHU). The symposium, held April 21-22, featured scholars from the United States, Great Britain and Israel.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and BHU Dean of Graduate Studies Robert O. Freedman welcomed participants and guests at the opening session on April 21. In his remarks, Dr. Billington noted that "over the course of the symposium, you will have an opportunity to hear presentations by leading experts in the highly specialized field of Dead Sea Scroll research. We expect that you will hear differing opinions and hypotheses on a variety of issues connected with the scrolls and the Qumran site. This is all to the good. One of the major purposes of our exhibition has been to present and explore these differing views and make them known to a wide audience. This symposium will add momentum to this effort."
The keynote address, "The Dead Sea Scrolls: 1947-2000" was delivered by Oxford University Professor Geza Vermes. Alexander Di Lella of Catholic University chaired a session with presentions by Dr. Eugene Ulrich, of the University of Notre Dame, on "The Bible at Qumran" and by Dr. Michael Stone, of Hebrew University and University of Richmond, on "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Pseudepigrapha."
Dr. Gus Van Beek of the Smithsonian Institution chaired a session featuring presentations by Magen Broshi of the Israel Museum, Shrine of the Book on "Qumran: The Archaeological Evidence," and Dr. P. Kyle McCarter of Johns Hopkins University on "The Copper Scroll."
The presentation of Dr. Lawrence Schiffman of New York University on "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism" was followed by the University of Notre Dame's James VanderKam, who spoke on "Messianism in the Scrolls and in Early Christianity." The session was chaired by BHU professor Samuel Iwry.
Dr. Joseph Baumgarten, cochair of the symposium, led a session featuring presentations by Dr. Devorah Dimant on the "Qumran Manuscripts: Library of a Jewish Community" and Dr. Norman Golb of the University of Chicago on "The Current Status of the Theory of the Jerusalem Origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls."
In a paper titled "The Essential Commune of the Renewed Covenant: How Should Qumran Studies Proceed?," the final speaker, Dr. Shemaryahu Talmon, summarized his views on the identity of the Dead Sea community and presented a research agenda for Qumran studies.
At a presymposium lecture held on the morning of April 21, Esther Boyd-Alkalay, a consulting conservator to the Israel Antiquities Authority, spoke on "The Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls."