BAR 37:04, Jul/Aug 2011
Milestones: Ben-Zion Wacholder (1924–2011)
Ben-Zion Wacholder, professor emeritus of Talmud and rabbinics at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati who played a critical role in making the Dead Sea Scrolls accessible to everyone, passed away in March at age 86.
In 1989, Wacholder, along with his then-student Martin Abegg (now professor of religious studies at Trinity Western University in British Columbia), obtained a secret concordance of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls. The concordance consisted of photocopies of index cards on which every word in the unpublished scrolls was listed, including its location and the few words surrounding it. Using a computer (dubbed by the press “Rabbi Computer”), the two were able to use the concordance to reconstruct the unpublished texts of more than 500 scrolls. The result was Abegg and Wacholder’s A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls in four fascicle volumes, the first of which was published by the Biblical Archaeology Society on September 4, 1991.a