SCROLLS (English)

I am professor in Biblical and Jewish Studies at NLA University College, Oslo. From 1992 I was a member of the international team publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2003-2007 I headed the Nordic Network in Qumran Studies. At the moment I am leading a group of scholars who is in the process of publishing Dead Sea Scrolls and artefacts in the Norwegian-based Schøyen Collection. Here you will find news of my research and some of my articles in Dead Sea Scrolls and biblical studies. I can be contacted at

New edition of the Canticles scrolls
Better infrared photographs of the Canticles fragments from Qumran are now available on the IAA website. I have also studied the original fragments in the IAA collection with a Dino-Lite digital microscope, and have discovered a number of new variant readings. I plan to publish a reedition of all the fragments, followed by a new hypothesis on the background milieu of the authors and editors of the Song of Songs. Below follow two of my miniature captions of details of the fragments, one in natural light and another in infrared.
Fig 4b piece e top color
Fig 5c  Cant a II 8

GABRIEL INSCRIPTION – A new reading by Oct 2014
By September 2011 I made a new translation of the Gabriel Inscription, a text highly relevant for understanding the New Testament and early Jewish eschatological expectations. My arguments for this translation appeared in Semitica 54/2012. Elgvin, Semitica 54 (2012), 221-232
In April 2013 published another article on this text in Semitica 55, where I pointed to interesting parallels between the Gabriel Inscription and a passage in the Talmud. Both texts read Psalm 2 as prophetic information about the end-time war. Semitica 55 (2013) 139-145
Photo by permission from Dr. David and Jemima Jezelsohn, Zürich; Bruce Zuckerman, Kenneth Zuckerman, and Marilyn Lundberg.
In October. together with three other scholarly editor, we launched Journal of the Jesus Movement in Its Jewish setting, an online journal also available in hard copy with Eisenbrauns. JJMJS
The first article in JJMJS is my latest on the Gabriel Inscription, presenting a more comprehensive reading of the Hebrew text, with English translation and textual notes.
Elgvin Gabriel Inscription

Texts and artefacts from the Judean Desert in The Schøyen Collection will finally be published around June 2016 in Gleanings from the Caves at T&T Clark. Together with Esther Eshel (Bar Ilan), Årstein Justnes and Kipp Davis (University of Agder) I have been working on fragments from around thirty scrolls, twenty of these so far unpublished. Most are biblical, some sectarian, and there are small fragments of two hitherto unknown texts. There is a new copy of a sectarian biblical commentary, and another fragment of 4QReworked Pentateuch b. Most of the fragments were found by the Bedouin in the Qumran caves, while five probably derive from Bar Kokhba caves. Some small fragments from Wadi el-Daliyeh are being edited by Jan Dusek. Most of the biblical fragments display textual variants, some cast new light on the literary development of books in the Hebrew Bible. The publication includes fragments with interesting textual variants of books such as Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Joel, Ruth, and Proverbs. The Jeremiah fragment is related to the Septuagint’s version of Jeremiah, and preserves a shorter and more original version of six verses from Jeremiah 3. A few of the Schøyen fragments are still not finally studied, and will be published later.
The fragments were rephotographed by Bruce Zuckerman and his team in 2011, and we have been scrutinizing the new images. After publication of Gleanings from the Caves the images will be available for scholars through Inscriptifact.
Joel 5In our work we use a Dino-Lite digital microscope, which enables us to make infrared photographs of details of the fragment (a tool I also have used in the IAA scrollery with astonishing results). This image shows the edge of a crunched fragment of Joel, where a lamed and remnants of more letters appear on the fold.

Artefacts from the Judean Desert such as the Temple scroll wrapper, a scroll jar (probably from Cave 1 or Cave2), a palm fibre tool, a bronze altar and inkwell (perhaps found in Nahal Hever) will also be presented in the forthcoming volume. Jan Gunneweg, Ira Rabin, Matthew Boulanger, Naama Sukenik, and Joan Taylor have been studying these artefacts and will contribute to the forthcoming volume. Israeli textile expert Naama Sukenik recently studied the Temple Scroll wrapper with its linen cord and is comparing it with other textiles from Qumran. Michael Langlois, Strassbourg, analyzes the palaeography of the Schøyen fragments. Pioneering mineral analyses by Ira Rabin cast new light on the preparation of parchment in antiquity, and has interesting news on the parchment in the Isaiah Scroll, The Rule of Discipline, the Rule of Benedictions, and the Genesis Apocryphon (small fragments of these scrolls ended with Martin Schøyen through John Trever). Following in the footsteps of Michael Langlois, Kipp Davis provides us with graphical reconstructions of the biblical text around the fragments (made in Photoshop), one example is pasted below. Occasionally we have to postulate “hidden” textual variants to allow for a straight right margin and a relatively straight left margin.

1QSb Rule of Benedictions (see under 4.6)

Volume 1 of Discoveries in the Judeaen Desert will appear in a reworked edition, sixty years after its first publication. Together with Årstein Justnes (University of Agder, Kristiansand) I am leading a team of Nordic, French and Israeli scholars who will be responsible for this project. The edition will be part of a new series with Brill publishers, and is scheduled for publication in the years to come.
The Norwegian Research Council and University of Agder have given us a generous four-year funding for the DJD 1 and Schøyen projects, entitled ‘Biblical’ Texts Older than the Bible: New Texts, New Publications, New Approaches. From August 2012 – July 2015 the Canadian scholar Kipp Davis was part of the team in a post-doctoral reasearch position.
Elgvin at IAAFragments IAA
I have reexamined the relevant plates in the scrollery of Israel Antiquities Authority a couple of times. In this work we use a Dino-Lite digital microscope to get infrared detailed captions of the fragments. The IAA got so ‘jealous’ that they asked me for details so that they could acquire their own Dino-Lite. We hope soon to be able to rephotograph and study the fragments kept by the Jordanian authorities in Amman.


Shaolin T m paddeI recently lectured at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Hunan University, Kaifeng. My two lectures will appear in Chinese in annotated form in the Journal of Biblical Literature of Hunan University. Here are these two papers in English version, tailored to be read by non-specialists: “How Judaism and Christianity Influenced Each Other in the Early Centuries”; “Dead Sea Scrolls and New Understanding of the Bible.” The pictures are from my visit to Shaolin Temple, one of the earliest Buddhist shrines in China.
Judaism and Christianity
Scrolls and Bible

The World of Jesus and the Early Church, edited by C.A. Evans, was published by Hendrickson in November 2011. It includes articles on scripture interpretation, archaeology, and identity in Jewish and early Christian communities. My article on the heavenly temple draws lines from the Hebrew Bible and Qumran writings to Hebrews and the Revelation of John. Heavenly temple, Hebrews, Revelation

This article elaborates the motif of the heavenly temple and God’s angelic entourage in the Hebrew Bible and Qumran writings, a tradition treasured especially by priests and Levites: “Temple Mysticism and the Temple of Men.” In The Dead Sea Scrolls: Text and Context (STDJ 90; C. Hempel, ed.; Leiden: Brill: 2010), 227-42. Heavenly and earthly sanctuary

A review article on the scrolls and biblical scholarship, where I in particular engage with the debate on the status of authoritative Jewish writings in the late second temple period. Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 73 (2008). Scrolls and Biblical Scholarship

In this article I elaborate the Jewish background of the Revelation of John, an apocalyptic and ‘militant’ voice among the New Testament writings. I suggest that John of Patmos may be a Levite with knowledge of temple tradition who had experienced the Romans’ crushing of the Jewish revolt: “Priests on Earth as in Heaven. Jewish Light on the Book of Revelation.” In Echoes From the Caves. Qumran and the New Testament (STDJ 85; F. Garcia Martinez, ed.; Leiden: Brill, 2009), 257-78. Jewish context of Revelation

An increasing number of scholars argue that Isaiah 53 originally did not portray an individual suffering for others. In this popular article I show that the servant songs of Isaiah 50 and 53 were interpreted on an individual both in later texts of the Hebrew Bible and in Qumran writings (Mishkan 43/2005). mishkan Isaiah 53

A popular article on the interpretation of the biblical law on the culprit who is hanged on the tre to die (Deut 21:22-23) in early Jewish texts including the New Testament [Themelios 22 (1997), 14-21]. themelios messiah

This short article, “The Yahad is More Than the Qumran,” is possibly the best seven pages I have written [in Enoch and Qumran Origins. New Light on a Forgotten Connection (G. Boccacini, ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 273-9]. These ideas were later elaborated by Alison Schofield in her dissertation From Qumran to the Yahad, cf. also John Collins’ recent Beyond the Qumran Community. Yahad more than Qumran

A 2013 article on Hasmonean state-supported messianism and sectarian counter-polemic.
Elgvin Hasmonean ideology 2013

A scanned version of my 1997/98 dissertation from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction,” is posted below (also available at academia). The image shows the second largest fragment of the scroll 4Q416, one of eight copies of this catechetic pre-Essene writing.
An Analysis of 4QInstruction

11 thoughts on “SCROLLS (English)”

  1. Helen Jacobus said:

    Thank you very much for this information. The website looks great.
    Best wishes,
    Helen Jacobus

  2. Andrew said:

    Has the Nehemiah fragment been translated? I expect this is a portion, but still, it would be nice to see your translation of it (if there is sufficient text to be translated).

  3. George Eller said:

    Thank you for a most interesting and informative site. It was a pleasure to find my own conclusions on a wider Essene movement and their compositions confirmed by your authority. However, I was unable to complete the link for ” A scanned version of my 1997/98 dissertation from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction,” can be found here: The image shows the second largest fragment of the scroll 4Q416, one of eight copies of this catechetic pre-Essene writing. ”

    George Eller Jacksonville, Fl. USA

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