News from the Qumran Residency 2019 at the École biblique

The École biblique receives this week in Residence of researchers 10 specialists in the texts of Qumran, coming from various universities and research centers (Birmingham, Penn State, Denver, Uppsala, Metz, Strasbourg, Helsinki, McMaster University, St Edward’s, Groningen, Oslo).

This Residence of researchers allows them to work intensively with the rich resources of the library of the École biblique, to exchange with collegues one hour a day in a seminar on their projects, to meet with Israeli colleagues and to enjoy the city of Jerusalem in this sweet month of September.

This Residence of researchers model, distinctive from a conference, revives a strong commitment of the École biblique in Qumranic studies, since the excavations by Roland de Vaux and the first team of editors of the texts, with Dominique Barthélemy, Joseph Milik, John Strugnell, etc.

Here are some reactions of the participants of this first Qumran Residency.


“The Qumran Residency has been realized on the model of artists residencies. This is unusual in the research world but it is very satisfying to have created an original, pleasant and effective environment for the research. The idea was for everyone to feel free to open up and, why not, to say: “I have this crazy idea: what do you think about it?” in a benevolent atmosphere. It is very fulfilling professionally and personally.” Michael Langlois, associate professor at the University of Strasbourg (France) in CNRS delegation at the Centre de Recherche Français à Jérusalem, initiator with the École biblique of the first Qumran Residency.

“Thanks to all the new cutting-edge computing methods, especially the artificial intelligence we are working with, research is moving ahead in new ways to understand the scribes and people behind the manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, we are an interdisciplinary team with various disciplines from the sciences (artificial intelligence, physics, chemistry) and the humanities interacting. That is an exciting learning experience. Science is a truly social endeavour. That is also why being together, working together, chatting together here at the Ecole at the Qumran Residency is truly a fantastic experience; it is a Dead Sea Scrolls researcher’s heaven!” Mladen Popović, Professor of Old Testament and Early Judaism, Director of the Qumran Institue at the University of Groningen (Netherlands).

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be part of this first Qumran Residency! The Residency allows for the emergence of discussions that we could not have anticipated. These conversations helps us evolve not only individually but also as a research community. It is very beneficial to collaborate, share our expertise and have feedback from other specialists on our work. What’s more, we are welcomed in this exceptional setting and have access to the rich library of the École biblique.” Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Professor of Religious and Theological Studies at St Edward’s University, Austin (United-States).

“It is a great idea to bring together people who work on the same subject and who know each other, just to be together and work together without the pressure of a very busy conference where there is little time for discussion. However, discussing and debating freely, as if you were among friends around a beer, is what allows new ideas to emerge in the long term. I believe very much in the fact that research is also carried out through the human dimension.”  Jean-Sébastien Rey, Professor of Old and New Testament at Université de Lorraine, Metz (France).