Museum of the Bible Releases Research Findings on 13 Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments

Scholars Initiative’s First Brill Volume Highlights Scholar-Mentor Research Model 

Today Brill, a leading international academic publisher, released the first in a series of volumes based on research sponsored by Museum of the Bible. Edited by Emanuel Tov (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Kipp Davis (Trinity Western University) and Robert Duke (Azusa Pacific University), the volume contains findings on 13 previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, a number of Hebrew Bible fragments and one non-biblical fragment. It is the culmination of four years of research that involved some 50 scholars comprised of a core editorial team, 11 chapter authors and 35 co-authors.

Museum of the Bible sponsors research through its Scholars Initiative, which facilitates a global network of scholars to pursue research and provide students with an opportunity to develop as scholars under the guidance of scholar-mentors. Key to this research model is the involvement of leading international scholars who provide supervision and oversight.

Museum of the Bible enlisted the world’s leading expert on Dead Sea Scrolls to supervise the editing and publication of this Scholars Initiative research project. Tov is considered the world’s leading authority on textual criticism of Hebrew and Greek Bibles, as well as the Qumran Scrolls, and served as editor-in-chief of the international Dead Sea Scrolls publication project.

The team of emerging scholars working on this Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative research project, many of whom had never delved into the Dead Sea Scrolls, operated in an incredibly professional way,” said Tov. “With supervisory guidance, they produced strong results and, in my opinion, this mentoring system of the Scholars Initiative was a great success.”

The editors and their team have produced a masterful edition of 13 Judean Desert fragments, most probably from Qumran and almost all from the Hebrew Scriptures,” said Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, a renowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar who serves at New York University as the Judge Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and Director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies. “They have brought to bear the best of scientific and textual methods available to their task. While testifying to the various forms of the text of the Hebrew Bible known from Antiquity, these fragments point toward the dominance of the proto-Masoretic text by the end of the first century CE.”

“Museum of the Bible has made an excellent start in their publication program,” said Schiffman, "and further volumes are eagerly awaited."

The 236-page Brill volume, which contains five tables and 41 photographs and is titled Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection, explains how this mentoring model is built around three levels of participants: students (undergraduate through doctorate), their professors, and senior scholars who consult on projects in their areas of expertise. The Scholars Initiative structure also includes regional directors, who assist senior scholars and professors on their local campuses, and distinguished scholars, who are established language specialists.

Also of note in this new Brill publication is the advanced use of digital imaging for the reconstruction of the texts that was provided by the West Semitic Research Project for the University of Southern California. The reconstructive process, which applied evolving imaging technologies with new methodologies, offered researchers an unparalleled means for testing various proposals for how a text was originally laid out with a degree of precision and accuracy heretofore not possible.

To date through the Scholars Initiative, professors from more than 60 international universities and seminaries have participated in some 90 research projects on biblical texts and artifacts, many of which have never been studied before. The Scholars Initiative involves leading experts in the fields of papyri; Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Egyptian and Ethiopic texts; and Coptic, medieval, Middle-Eastern, early Jewish and early American artifacts, among others.

This is the first in a series of Brill volumes dedicated to research on items in the Museum of the Bible Collection. The next volume is dedicated to some of the collection’s early Greek texts and will be published soon, with Jeffrey Fish (Baylor University) serving as editor.

Brill is proud to be working with the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative,” said Suzanne Mekking, senior acquisitions editor, Old Testament/Qumran at Brill. “This unique cooperation of students working together closely with experts in the field resulted in the first, long-awaited volume on the Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection. We are sure that this volume will make a great contribution to modern scholarship and is a perfect fit for Brill’s publishing program.

About Brill
Founded in 1683 in Leiden, the Netherlands, Brill is a leading international academic publisher in 20 main subject areas, including Middle East and Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, History, Biblical and Religious Studies, Language & Linguistics, Biology, and International Law. With offices in Leiden and Boston and a representative office in Singapore, Brill today publishes 265 journals and around 1000 new books and reference works each year, available in both print and electronic form. Brill also markets a large number of primary source research collections and databases. The company’s key customers are academic and research institutions, libraries, and scholars. Brill is a publicly traded company and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam NV. For more information, visit

About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible. Admission to the museum is free with a suggested donation. A fly-through of the Museum is viewable here.

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