NordForsk researcher in good company

01.03.2007
As the only Scandinavian researcher Torleif Elgvin is allowed to study the fragments of the more than 2000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls. Only 65 experts worldwide can do that. "It makes me feel humble and honored to take part in this," says Elgvin, the leader of a NordForsk network on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In a big interview with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten Torleif Elgvin says that he still gets emotional when he goes to his microscope to study the valuable fragments of the old Jewish texts. "The scrolls have taught us that Judaism up to the birth of Jesus was more multifacetted than what we used to believe. They give us more insight into Jewish faith and hope, and indirectly they shed new light on the life of Jesus and the first Christians," Elgvin says.

Elgvin explains that the environment around the Dead Sea Scrolls is interdisciplinary and multi-religious: "We Dead Sea Scroll researchers do not form a closed group. We are Jewish, Catholics and Protestants, believers and agnostics. We disagree on many details, but stand united against radical interpretations that threaten the authority of the New Testament," Elgvin says to Aftenposten.

Torleif Elgvin is the leader of the NordForsk network The Nordic Network in Qumran Studies, and is an associate professor in Biblical and Jewish studies at a Christian university college in Oslo.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of almost 1000 scrolls, of which 200 Old Testament texts. The texts are written on tanned leather, papyrus and two copper scrolls. They were found in a cave near the North-West bank of the Dead Sea by a shepherd 60 years ago. Some texts are in good shape, others merely fragments. They are written in Hebrew, Arameic and Greek.


Photo of Elgvin: Hanne von Weissenberg
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