This EAJS Laboratory workshop will focus on the material transmission of the Hebrew Bible from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and Cambridge University Library L-G Bib. 7.40

We will examine a range of research methods used in the three main fields of Hebrew Bible manuscript studies: Dead Sea Scroll, Cairo Genizah and European Genizot studies. Although Dead Sea Scroll (DSS), Cairo Genizah (CG) and European Genizot (EG) manuscripts date from different eras and come from a diversity of geographical and cultural backgrounds, they all constitute the only primary sources we have for the study of the transmission of the Hebrew Bible. As such, they provide various fields of research with important information about their background.

Although DSS, CG and EG studies share a common concern with the transmission of the Hebrew Bible, their research approaches differ. Whereas studies on the DSS focus mainly on linguistics and literature, the study of Medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts (CG and EG studies) concentrates on philology, palaeography and codicology. The online availability of digitised manuscripts, the development of databases and other new research tools are also having an increasing impact on research practices.
Bringing together PhD students, early career researchers and established scholars working on Hebrew Bible manuscripts, this transdisciplinary event will encourage participants to share their research methods and approaches, in order to foster and encourage future transdisciplinary research collaborations between them.

mss 4Q98, copyright Musée Bible et Terre Sainte, CB 7163, Institut Catholique de Paris, Paris.

In order to provide a focus for discussion this workshop will address the following questions:

  • What are the approaches to the study of Hebrew Bible manuscripts (e.g. language, palaeography)?
  • What are the limits of these approaches (i.e. how much do they tell us)?
  • How are these approaches applied in DSS, CG and EG studies (e.g. are palaeographical approaches the same in all three fields)?
  • How can researchers in these three fields benefit from each others’ research practices?
  • Can digital tools make Hebrew Bible studies more rigorous?
  • What research tools are still needed to improve the study of the material transmission of the Hebrew Bible?

There will be three sessions, each focused on a specific field of research: Dead Sea Scrolls, the Cairo Genizah and the European Genizah. Each session will be introduced by a keynote lecture. Short presentations (10-15 min) by the participants will follow. All participants will be asked to send a first draft of their paper one month prior to the event in order to give the other participants time to prepare for an extended discussion.