During the past two or three years, FARMS has supported a number of efforts that together amount to a significant contribution to Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship. A summary of these efforts follows.
Production of the Dead Sea Scrolls on CD
The centerpiece of FARMS's contribution to Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship is publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls on CD: The FARMS Electronic Database (FARMS Database), produced in collaboration with the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center (ABMC), based in Claremont, California; BYU; E. J. Brill Publishers, headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands; the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, based in Jerusalem; the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA); and Oxford University Press.
The database consists of a comprehensive, fully indexed, and cross-linked computerized collection of nonbiblical (and eventually biblical) Dead Sea Scrolls transcriptions (published by Oxford University Press in the authoritative series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert [DJD] and elsewhere), a selection of corresponding digitized images of scrolls and scroll fragments (from photographs made available to FARMS by the ABMC), translations, and reference material of importance for scholarly work on the scrolls and on related literature and subjects.
Noel B. Reynolds, BYU professor of political science and president of FARMS, is producer of the FARMS Database; Donald W. Parry, BYU professor of Hebrew language and literature, is project director; and Steven W. Booras, electronic projects manager for CEPART, is project manager. Members of the project's advisory board include Weston Fields, executive director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation; Florentino García Martínez of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands; Dana M. Pike, BYU professor of ancient scripture; Elisha Qimron of Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University; David Rolph Seely, BYU professor of ancient scripture; Shemaryahu Talmon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Emanuel Tov, also of Hebrew University, head of the international team of scholars working on the Dead Sea Scrolls and editor in chief of DJD; and Eugene C. Ulrich of the University of Notre Dame.
The FARMS Database functions principally as a comprehensive concordance providing instantaneous and comprehensive searches of all included texts. The search routine allows users to design sophisticated word or phrase searches for all or selected forms of words. The low-resolution images of the scrolls in the database can be viewed simultaneously.
FARMS has an agreement with E. J. Brill, the IAA, and Oxford University Press allowing for inclusion of material published or owned by these organizations in the FARMS Database and markets a noncommercial version of the database, principally to scholars.
Archive of Dead Sea Scrolls Digitized Images
FARMS has created the largest known collection of digitized images of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Working under an agreement with the ABMC, FARMS has scanned the entire collection of approximately 5,600 scroll photographs owned by the ABMC. Working with negatives, FARMS created two sets of digitized images. The first set, scanned at high resolution, is for archival purposes and is owned and maintained by the ABMC. The second set, scanned at an undetermined low resolution, is jointly owned by the ABMC and FARMS. A selection of these images is included in the FARMS Database. Orders for individual copies of these images, received by the ABMC, are filled from this collection.
FARMS has also scanned (from negatives) the entire collection of original scroll photographs taken by John C. Trever in the late 1940s. These photographs are owned by the Claremont School of Theology and maintained by the ABMC. FARMS has limited distribution rights for these images.
On 30 April 1995 FARMS and BYU sponsored a conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The event was held at BYU's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Presentations were made by a number of scholars, all of whom are members of the international team working on the Dead Sea Scrolls, including Frank M. Cross of Harvard University, García Martínez, Tov, Ulrich, and Torleif Elgvin of the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology. Papers were also delivered by a number of scholars from BYU, all of whom are also members of the international team: Parry, Pike, Seely, and Andrew Skinner, professor and chair of ancient scripture. Scott R. Woodward, BYU professor of microbiology, and his colleagues from Hebrew University reported on efforts to subject scroll parchment material to DNA analysis. Woodward's efforts are supported by a number of organizations, including FARMS. At this conference Parry and Booras demonstrated, for the first time, the FARMS Database. The proceedings of the conference were subsequently published in a book titled Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were studied from the vantage point of LDS scripture and teachings by a number of scholars at a conference jointly sponsored by FARMS and Religious Education at BYU. The event was held on the BYU campus on 23 March 1996. Presentations covered an array of topics, with titles such as "The Book of Mormon and the Dead Sea Scrolls," "Is the Plan of Salvation Attested in the Dead Sea Scrolls?" and "Praise, Prayer, and Worship at Qumran." Professor García Martínez gave the keynote address at the conference. Although he was not speaking from an LDS perspective, his paper, "Messianic Hopes in the Qumran Writings," dealt with a topic of central importance to the theme of the conference. The proceedings of this event have been published in the book LDS Perspectives on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In addition, FARMS and BYU jointly sponsored the 1996 International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, held at BYU on 15–17 July 1996. Nearly fifty scholars from all over the world—experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls (many are members of the international team), biblical studies, and related subjects—were joined by another hundred or so local participants to listen to the presentation of forty-five papers. Topics ranged from detailed studies of the scrolls (e.g., "The Apocryphal Psalms at Qumran" and "Priestly and Levitical Gifts in the Temple Scroll") to broader subjects (e.g., "The Impact of the Scrolls on Biblical Studies") and topics dealing with innovations in other fields of study aiming to advance scholarship on the scrolls and related studies (e.g., "Microwave Remote Sensing Applications in Archaeology," "Imaging Clarified," and "DNA Fingerprinting of Parchment Fragments"). The conference also included presentation of the FARMS Database. Conference proceedings will be published by E. J. Brill in a book titled The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Several scholars representing FARMS attended the 1997 International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls, held in Jerusalem at the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book on 20–25 July 1997. The congress celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the scrolls. The interim release version of the FARMS Database was demonstrated several times during the conference. Parry, Booras, and E. Jan Wilson, who is in charge of text preparations for the FARMS Database and is associate director of CEPART, participated in the conference. Parry and Wilson also presented separate papers reporting on their own scroll research. Reynolds also attended this conference.
FARMS has supported publication of several books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, all of which were prepared with the able assistance of members of the FARMS editorial staff. Several scholars associated with FARMS are among the editors of and contributors to these publications:
• Parry, Donald W., and Stephen D. Ricks, eds. Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.
• Martínez, Florentino García, and Donald W. Parry, eds. A Bibliography of the Finds in the Desert of Judah, 1970–95. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.
• Parry, Donald W., and Dana M. Pike, eds. LDS Perspectives on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1997.
• Bradford, M. Gerald, ed. Ancient Scrolls from the Dead Sea: Photographs and Commentary on a Unique Collection of Scrolls. Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1997.
• Parry, Donald W., and Eugene C. Ulrich, eds. The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Texts, Reformulated Issues, and Technological Innovations. Leiden: E. J. Brill. Forthcoming.
From March through September 1997, FARMS sponsored an exhibit titled Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which featured several original Dead Sea Scrolls from Jordan, along with artifacts from the ancient community of Qumran and scroll replicas. This exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art was in conjunction with another major exhibit on loan to the university from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the IAA: The Story of Masada: Discoveries from the Excavation. The Masada exhibit also included a number of original scrolls discovered at this ancient site. Detailed descriptions and photographs of all the scrolls on display in these two exhibits are contained in this publication.
Support for Other Publications
Publication of volumes in the DJD series began in 1955. To date, sixteen volumes have appeared, twelve since 1990, with at least three volumes due to come out this year. It is estimated that once it is completed, the series will total more than thirty-five volumes. FARMS has supported the preparation of the concordance of four of the published volumes. FARMS has also been instrumental in helping the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation secure financial support from private sources in Utah to aid in the publication of at least three volumes in the series.
Early in the production of the FARMS Database, FARMS worked closely with Stephen Pfann, director of the Center for the Study of Early Christianity in Jerusalem, in the preparation of transcripts for possible use in the database. In connection with this effort, FARMS also supported Pfann in his preparation of a comprehensive concordance of the Dead Sea Scrolls that will be published once all the volumes in the DJD series have appeared.