Dead Sea Scrolls conference proceedings now published

The Proceedings of the 2007 Birmingham Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls have now been published and the volume (edited by Charlotte Hempel) is available through Brill.

Here is a taste of the conference as described in the Preface to the book by Prof. Albert I. Baumgarten, Professor of Jewish History, Bar Ilan University, Israel:

'I hope the readers of the papers in this volume will sense the many ways in which the conference, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Context, held at the University of Birmingham, 29 October 1 November 2007, was special. The group of scholars assembled, from the UK, Europe, Israel, and the USA spent three wonderful days considering Qumran texts from diverse points of view.

Several aspects made this event unusual. First, was the mix of participants who presented papers and contributed to the scholarly conversation, from some of the most senior scholars to graduate students currently completing dissertations. This encouraged a freshness of perspective on all the issues discussed. Next, and more important in my view, was the fact that papers represented new work, not a simple re-hashing or summary of things that the authors had been writing over and over again for the past years. Finally, most important, was that many of the papers were devoted to a sincere reconsideration of conclusions that the authors had argued in the past. Effectively, many presentations began by announcing, I may have suggested, but now I want to discuss the evidence for and against that conclusion one more time. In trying to understand this outcome, I would point to one fact whose importance cannot be underestimated. Qumran scholarship is now taking place in a context in which all the available texts have been published. In one sense, all of us in the field now need to go back and become thoroughly familiar with the corpus of texts that survived. Any conclusion we proposed in the past was based on a partial picture of the full range of the cave finds. Everything is now subject to revision. That feeling of intellectual openness and flexibility pervaded at Birmingham, and it made the experience such a pleasure.'

Further details are on the Brill website.