A Workshop on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Judaism at Trinity College Dublin

Text: Elisa Uusimäki and Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
Photos: Jutta Jokiranta

Three members of the CSTT’s Team 4 – Jutta Jokiranta, Elisa Uusimäki, and Sami Yli-Karjanmaa – travelled to Ireland in the beginning of May in order to foster the co-operation between biblical scholars working at the University of Helsinki and Trinity College of Dublin. Landing to the greenness of Dublin on a sunny day was a most beautiful start for our visit, and the next days of academic activities and college life fulfilled our expectations.

On May 3rd, we held a one-day symposium where our hosts and we presented our latest research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Judaism to each other and a small audience of postgraduate students and Trinity College staff.

The participants were welcomed by Dr Benjamin Wold, Assistant Professor in New Testament.
The participants were welcomed by Dr Benjamin Wold, Assistant Professor in New Testament.

Careful close-readings of manuscripts were undertaken by David Shepherd in his paper “What’s ‘Targumic’ about an Apocryphon? Further Reflections on 1Q20 as an Aramaic Version” and Alan Thomas in his paper “A Comparative Study of the Translation Techniques in the Old Greek and Qumran Aramaic (4Q156) Versions of Leviticus”.

Two of the papers – Jutta Jokiranta’s “Ritualization and Power of Listing: Examples from Qumran Evidence” and Sami Yli-Karjanmaa’s “The Power over Text and Ritual: Philo’s Views of Circumcision in the Light of Sociology of Esotericism” examined ancient sources within the framework of ritual and social studies.

Benjamin Wold and Elisa Uusimäki discussed topics that concern wisdom-related material from Qumran, the former speaking about “’First-born’ and ‘Beloved’ Son in the Dead Sea Scrolls” and the latter about “Maskil’s Authority beyond the Sectarian Movement: A Sage among Sages”.

The day ended with an informal “business meeting” where we identified several mutually interesting topics for future collaboration. May it continue!

On May 4th, we had the opportunity to visit the magnificent Book of Kells exhibition and the old library at Trinity College Dublin, as well as to explore the overwhelmingly rich collections at the Chester Beatty Library. Seeing ancient biblical manuscripts and artefacts of the Judeo-Christian tradition is always special for scholars of ancient Judaism and early Christianity, but we were excited to broaden our horizons by means of exploring Islamic and East Asian art and manuscript culture.

The magnificent campus of Trinity College Dublin has been selected as one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses.

Warm thanks to our hosts, Benjamin Wold and David Shepherd, for their hospitality. Benjamin and David are currently developing the study of the biblical world and the reception of biblical texts in Ireland. Please take a moment and have a look at the website of Trinity Centre of Biblical Studies.