Dead Sea Scrolls scholar elected to leading learned society

by Dennis Brown

p. Eugene C. Ulrich, Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and one of the world’s foremost scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He will be formally inducted in October at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Mass.p. Founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, John Hancock and others, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is the nation’s leading learned society. It recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, scholarship, public affairs and the arts.p. Joining Ulrich among this year’s inductees are former Cabinet members Madeleine Albright and Robert Rubin, Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel, World Wide Web inventor Timothy Berners-Lee, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, actors and philanthropists Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, actor and director Woody Allen, photographer Richard Avedon, composer Quincy Jones, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, human genome pioneer Craig Venter, and Qualcomm cofounder Andrew Viterbi, who will receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame later this month.p. Election to the academy is the “result of a highly competitive selection process that recognizes those who have made preeminent contributions to all scholarly fields and professions,” according to James O. Freedman, the academy’s president. In announcing Ulrich’s election, the academy recognized him as a “leading authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible and the early Greek versions.”p. Discovered between 1947 and 1956, in caves near the Dead Sea, the scrolls contain the earliest known versions of the Old Testament, biblical writings and information about Christianity and Judaism. They are often considered the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century.p. Ulrich has served on the official translation team for the scrolls since 1977 and, as one of the three general editors since 1990, he is the primary editor of the translations of the biblical manuscripts. He and Emanuel Tov from Hebrew University in Jerusalem engineered both the diplomatic and practical procedures that took the scrolls to full publication during the 1990s.p. In addition to his technical work, Ulrich also is recognized as one of the world’s leading biblical theorists. His book “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible” sketches what is arguably the most advanced theory about the history of the biblical text.p. Ulrich also is the author of “The Qumran Text of Samuel and Josephus” and has coedited and translated numerous other books as well as two official Bibles, The New American Bible and the Catholic and Protestant editions of The New Revised Standard Version.p. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1973, Ulrich was promoted to the O’Brien chair in 1998. In the University’s theology department he has served as coordinator of the doctoral Program in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity, director of graduate studies, director of the master of divinity program, and director of college theology. He also has held visiting appointments at Oxford and the University of Helsinki.p. Ulrich earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in ancient Near Eastern languages and Hebrew Bible from Harvard University, and he holds a master of divinity degree from Woodstock College, a licentiate in philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in classics and English from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

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