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The Discovery, Preservation and Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Evening Lecture
Registration at 6.45 pm
Presentations at 7 pm
Discussion at 8 pm
Close at 8.30 pm

“Temple, Scrolls, and Divine Messengers: Archaeology of the Land of Israel in Roman Times an exhibition of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem” will open at Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Fall 2014. This affiliated lecture series brings to Hong Kong international scholars and experts to discuss thematic areas of history and archaeology in relation to Israel and Judaism of the Second Temple era.

The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Judaism and Christianity by Dr. Adolfo D. Roitman
Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in 1947, these ancient Jewish manuscripts have attracted the attention from scholars and general public. The discovery of the scrolls was a dramatic turning point in the study of ancient Jewish history, because for the first time, we are in possession of a large and diverse literary corpus (biblical, para-biblical and non-biblical manuscripts), of generally good quality, from the end of the Hellenistic-Roman times. This original literary treasure trove not only sheds light on the nature of Jewish society in the Land of Israel in the Second Temple period –including its literature, ritual, and thought—but on the beginnings of Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity as well. The lecture will be an introduction to the fascinating world of the DSS, summarizing the story of their discovery and explaining their significance for scholarly world.


The Digitization and Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Pnina Shor
Issues of conservation, preservation and documentation of the DSS have concerned both scholars and conservators ever since the scrolls’ discovery. The removal of the fragile scrolls from the Judean Desert caves, where they had been preserved for over 2,000 years, interrupted the environmental stability that had ensured their preservation for so long. Since their discovery, the scrolls were damaged by ravages of time, as well as from mishandling and mistreatment. In 1991, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) advised by leading experts in issues relating to conservation of manuscripts written on parchment and papyrus - established a designated conservation laboratory for the preservation of the DSS. The conservation and preservation of the scrolls have since been an ongoing task due to their extreme brittleness and the need to meet up with the most up-to-date conservation methods. The digitization project of the DSS was initiated as part of IAA efforts to preserve the scrolls for future generations and to broaden access to them for both the public and scholars worldwide. The project includes the development of a monitoring system for the state of preservation of the scrolls, supplementary analysis, and the creation of the highest-quality color images and advanced near infra-red images. The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library was launched in December 2012, the development of a website continues and eventually the IAA intends to enable online not only the digitized scroll images, but also their transcriptions, translations, commentaries and bibliography, allowing a free access to all.

Dr. Roitman and Ms. Shor will be joined by Dr. Yang Liu, General Manager of Truth Book Room in a moderated discussion and Q&A after the presentations.

Dr. Adolfo D. Roitman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1957. He received his MA cum laude in Anthropological Sciences from University of Buenos Aires (1980) and MA cum laude in Comparative Religions from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1985). Conservative Rabbi from the Latino-American Rabbinical Seminary (Buenos Aires, 1986), Dr. Roitman obtained PhD in Ancient Jewish Literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1993) as well as Doctor Honoris Causa from the Rocky Mountain College, Montana (2005). Since 1994, Dr. Roitman has been the Lizbeth and George Krupp Curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Head of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Pnina Shor was nominated Head of Dead Sea Scrolls Projects at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in May 2010 when the unit was established. She is in charge of the unit’s curatorship, conservation and preservation, exhibition, and first and foremost DSS digitization. Ms. Shor has worked for the IAA throughout her archaeological career - she began as a field archaeologist, continued with the scientific aspects of the processing of the material towards its scientific publication, and was involved in the publication and curation of the artifacts. When appointed Head of the Conservation Department of Artifacts, she initiated and participated in an extensive course on the scientific principles of conservation sponsored by ICCROM. Dealing closely with the conservation, preservation and exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls has roused her special interest in the Scrolls sustainability so she began a personal program towards a PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. Liu Yang earned his BA in Mathematics from Beijing University, and went on to complete his Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York. He subsequently taught as Benjamin Peirce Assistant Professor at Harvard University. He is now the General Manager of the Hong Kong Truth Book Room, a publishing house of Christian literatures serving Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.

Conducted in English; Simultaneous interpretation available in Cantonese




Event Details

Thu 23 Oct 2014
6:45pm - 8:30pm

Wei Hing Theatre , 6/F Amenities Building, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Free Admission (Online Registration Required)