For more than a decade, Hebrew University professor Emanuel Tov has been in charge of the scholarly team that is publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls. It hasn’t always been easy; but now, with the 37th volume of the Discoveries in the Judean Desert series rolling off the presses, the project is finally nearing completion. With this publishing landmark in mind, BAR took the opportunity to interview Tov on his tenure as chief editor, and to get his perspective on the dramatic developments surrounding their release.
Hershel Shanks: Emanuel, you’ve just announced the completion of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project.
Emanuel Tov: Correct.
HS: But you’re not yet finished.
ET: We are not finished. We are announcing the fact that all the scrolls that have been found are now in the public domain in scholarly editions. The fragments have been in the public domain as images [pictures] for some time. Now they are available in scholarly editions—that is, with one or two exceptions. There are 37 volumes in the DJD Series [Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, published by Oxford University Press; each volume includes photographs, transcriptions, translations and commentary on the scrolls]. The volume on Samuel, with Frank Cross [of Harvard] as the main author, is to be submitted soon. And a volume of Aramaic material is not out. All the others are out, all 37 volumes.