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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:4, Winter 2022

Milestone: Claus-Hunno Hunzinger (1929–2021)

The final member of the original Dead Sea Scrolls publication team, Claus-Hunno Hunzinger, passed away on January 6, 2021. Although he was on the team only for a short period, in the 1950s, he left his mark.

In 1954, Hunzinger earned his doctorate from the University of Göttingen at age 24. His thesis was on the Community Scroll from Qumran Cave 1. That same year, he was appointed to the international Dead Sea Scrolls publication team, which analyzed the scrolls in Jerusalem’s Rockefeller Archaeological Museum (then known as the Palestine Archaeological Museum). He was the first German to join the team and received the nickname the “Baron of Qumran.”

While in Jerusalem, he found two loves: the scrolls and his future wife, Elisabeth, daughter of the former German Lutheran provost of Jerusalem. Notably, Hunzinger reconstructed the War Scroll fragments, a text about a battle between the “sons of light” and the “sons of darkness,” and the Morning and Evening prayers, both from Cave 4. During the Suez crisis of 1956, the scroll team was evacuated and the scroll fragments taken by the Jordanian government to Amman for safekeeping. But Hunzinger came back to Jerusalem after only two weeks and helped facilitate the return of the fragments.

Hunzinger left the team in September 1957 to teach in Germany and then the United States. In 1962, he was appointed as Professor for New Testament at the University of Hamburg, where he taught until his retirement in 1992. His wife Elisabeth died in 2018. They are survived by three daughters, Petra, Renate, and Christa.

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