On the Name 'Scholion'

Scholion, which sounds very much like the Hebrew askola and the English school, is the Greek term for a gloss on a text. In Jewish culture, it was applied to a commentary on Megillat Ta’anit, a short work from the late Second Temple period that lists the joyous days during the course of the year on which it is forbidden to fast. That tractate is quite obscure and would be impossible to understand without its "scholion.”

Our Center selected this name in order to express the view that all scholarly work in the humanities is a sort of new Midrash on the works of the past. Research should not only return to the original meaning of texts, but should also expound them in new senses.

Another explanation has to do with the meaning of the Greek word skholé: “leisure.” One of the advantages enjoyed by the scholars at Scholion is exemption from teaching duties. Other benefits and support of every possible type are intended to free them to engage in their research. According to the Talmud, a town without at least ten “idlers” is not a town. But the term does not mean people who do nothing, but rather those whose economic situation means they do not have to work and can spend all their time in study.