CSLA Summer Funding Feature: Elena Dugan

Monday, Mar 2, 2020

Elena Dugan, a graduate student in the Department of Religion, received funding from the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity to travel to Florence, Paris, and Dublin to research with specialists in her field, consult important manuscripts, and explore new and untapped archives.

Below, Dugan shares more about her experiences abroad and how they contributed to her dissertation research:

As a student of the late-ancient work known as 1 Enoch, it was my pleasure to be invited to participate in and contribute to the annual Enoch Seminar, which convenes a group of specialists on Enoch and related works in an intensive, weeklong workshop. This year, it was held in Florence, Italy, and focused on the early modern reception and study of Enoch and Enochic traditions, an especially apt topic given my own dissertation research on the history of scholarship on this fascinating work. I was able to formally present my own work on the topic and respond to papers on the Slavonic and Ethiopic reception of 1 Enoch, and benefited immensely from meeting and exchanging ideas with the diverse group of international scholars assembled. Especially exciting was my time working with members of the team from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München who are collecting and preparing for publication over a hundred new manuscripts of 1 Enoch — I was lucky enough to check in with them two weeks after a research trip in which they discovered crucial new manuscript evidence! My work on 1 Enoch has benefitted immeasurably from the knowledge shared and developed during this intensive and specialized seminar.

I was also able to travel to Paris to consult the personal archive of J.T. Milik, the initial publisher of the Aramaic Enoch fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Recently donated to the Bibliothèque du Saulchoir by his widow, Professor Yolanta Milik, the documents in this archive represent over four decades of notes, letters, diagrams, and manuscripts illustrating the methods, conditions, and background to J.T. Milik’s pioneering scholarship. I was especially excited to discover personal correspondence, working lists, and organizational documents from the very earliest years of Qumran scholarship in the 1950s, which shed light on the often mysterious ways in which the Scrolls came to be discovered, arranged, and parceled out among the early team for study. My time working in this archive has provided invaluable data concerning the provenance of the Enoch fragments, and the initial conditions guiding their study, not to mention crucial information on the life and times of one of the giants of Qumran scholarship.

Finally, I spent time at the reading room of the Chester-Beatty Museum in Dublin, Ireland, consulting the fragments of a fourth-century codex, especially pieces corresponding to 1 Enoch, and the Apocryphon of Ezekiel. Most importantly, I was able to consult unidentified and unpublished fragments held by the collection which have been hypothesized to belong to 1 Enoch. Physical consultation with the aid of a magnifying glass, and the wonderful team at the Chester-Beatty Reading Room, were able to provide great guidance on the character and provenance of these fragments, and further inform my reconstruction of the manuscript more generally, and thus my assessment of the character of the Enochic work to which the manuscript attests.

Ultimately, with the support of the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, I was able to explore not only the material artifacts left to us from the Late Antique period (the Chester-Beatty manuscripts), but those who have studied them in the past (the Milik archive in Paris), and those who are engaged in their study today (the Enoch Seminar). It was a uniquely rewarding experience, and has informed not only my current dissertation project, but my understanding of the field more generally. I move forward with this project with special thanks to the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, which not only supported this particular trip, but also creates an enriching environment for conversation and study here on campus year-round.