Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sad News: Hanan Eshel

SAD NEWS: Hanan Eshel has passed away. From the Orion Center via Mladen Popovic:
Dear All,

The Orion Center would like to express its great sorrow at the death of Prof. Hanan Eshel. May his memory be for a blessing.

Our condolences to Esther Eshel and to the Eshel family.

The funeral will be today (Thursday, 8/4/10) at 4 pm at the cemetery in Ma'aleh Hahamisha (just outside of Jerusalem).

The shiva will be held at the Eshel's house (Alrozorov 17, Jerusalem). Prayer times will be 7am for shacharit and 6:45 for Mincha/Maariv.

The Orion Center
Hanan was a prominent scholar and did much important work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran archaeology. I last saw him at the Enoch Seminar in Naples in June of last year, where I learned that he was terminally ill. He expressed hope that he would be at the next Enoch Seminar in 2011 but, alas, it is not to be.

May his memory be for a blessing.

UPDATE: Arutz Sheva has an obituary here.

UPDATE: Gabriele Boccaccini has just sent out a tribute to Hanan to the Enoch Seminar membership. I reproduce it here with his permission.
Dear Friends:

It is with great sorrow, that I am writing you about the death of our dear friend and colleague, and co-Director of the Enoch Seminar, Hanan Eshel.

Our warmest thought are with his wife, Esti, his family and friends.

It is a devastating loss for the entire scholarly community. It seems hard today to imagine any edited volumes, research projects, or international conferences, directly or indirectly related to the Dead Sea Scrolls, without his presence and contribution.

Hanan was the driving force of the Enoch Seminar (an energetic and passionate co-Director of the project). He attended all its biennial sessions, contributing decisively to the success of the project, not only through his scholarly contribution but also fostering a positive atmosphere of collaboration and productive exchange.

His scholarly legacy is a precious gift to all of us, but here I would rather like to remember Hanan the man and the friend. His scholarly reputation was the result of hard work, substantial achievements, but primarily of the immense love and passion he had for what he studied. Hanan’s enthusiasm and energy were irresistible, almost legendary, and highly contagious, an enthusiasm and optimism that he maintained to the last days, even facing his illness.

Hanan was not only interested in work, he was interested in people. I know it well by experience, during all the time we spent together in Italy, Israel, and Ann Arbor. On more than one occasion I received from him not only support as a colleague, but help and encouragement as a friend. Many times, both publicly and privately, we talked about how the study of Second Temple Judaism is essential not only for the self-understanding of Jews and Christians but also for their relationships today. We both shared the same dream of reconciliation and mutual understanding and were aware of the responsibility that as scholars we have to find common ground in the study of this crucial period of Christian and Rabbinic origins.

I was happy he could share once more the Italian experience of the Enoch Seminar in Naples and had time for a trip to Capri with Esti, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. When he left at the end of the conference, he hugged me with his strong arms and whispered: "I'm dying, Gabriele, I don't know if I will make it for another Enoch Seminar but I will try as hard as I can." We silently struggled not to cry, as I am struggling now that I am writing this notes... I miss you, Hanan. I miss you so much.