Essay Van Der Ploeg Coat

Johannes Petrus Maria "Jan" van der Ploeg (4 July 1909, Nijmegen – 4 August 2004, Nijmegen) was a Dutch Dominican specialist in Hebrew, Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac manuscript research. He was Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (1951–1979) after which time he spent most of his time in Kerala, and was raised to the dignity of chorbishop (or chorepiscopus) in the Syriac Catholic Church in 1963.

In 1958 he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Oud-Syrisch Monniksleven, Leiden, 1942.
  • Vondsten in de Woestijn van Juda, 1957; Engl. transl.: The Excavations at Qumran: A Survey of the Judaean Brotherhood and its Ideas, 1958; German transl., 1959.
  • Editio princeps, Aramaic Job Targum from Qumran, 1971.
  • The Christians of St. Thomas and their Syriac Manuscripts (Placid Lecture Series, 3), Bangalore, 1983.
  • The Book of Judith (Daughter of Merari), (Môrân 'Ethô Series3, Baker Hill, Kottayam, 1991.


  • Van Rompay, Lucas (January 2005). "Obituary". Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies. 8 (1). 
  • Delsman, W. C. et al., eds. (1982). "Von Kanaan bis Kerala". Alter Orient und Altes Testament (in German) (211).  Festschrift for 70th Birthday.

The purpose of my research is to unravel biophysical landscape processes and connect these with soil ecosystem functions through collaboration with different scientific disciplines to enable better use and protection of soil resources. Over the past years my research has developed along three research lines.

1. Soil and vegetation heterogeneity

The most important aspect I recognize in my work on biophysical landscape interactions for connecting climate change, population growth and soil threats is the heterogeneity of occurring processes and how these work out at different scales. Vegetation plays an essential role in the landscape, as it regulates the water flux to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration, while it is dependent on adequate water supply. Vegetation shapes the land surface by changing infiltration characteristics as a result of root growth, and controls soil moisture supply, which in turn affect runoff characteristics and groundwater recharge. Vegetation and the underlying geology are in constant interaction, wherein water plays a key role.

2. Measurement techniques to detect emerging properties in biophysical landscape interactions.

This research line is tightly linked to the previous one. New techniques, such as radar interferometry and other remote sensing products facilitate non-interfering observation of biophysical interactions on landscape scale. Therefore, such techniques allow to assess the result of micro-behavior on larger scales, and may help to assess which interactions are important to include in models. 

3. Role of heterogeneous landscape interactions on soil ecosystem functions

This research line is a logical connection with the other two, although this is also the research line where I am able to add my expertise on biophysical interactions in joint projects. I am collaborating in several projects to investigate the fate of nanosilver, microplastics and several pesticides. In these projects my expertise on soil heterogeneity, and innovative experimental setups is highly valuable. In 2016 I was involved in a project comparing slash/burn practices in the tropical mountainous cloud forests of Colombia, especially the impact on soil properties . I participate in a project that investigates how to better integrate soil ecosystem functions and urban planning of Metropolitan areas. Another link with ecosystem services is through the International Soil Modelling Consortium (ISMC).

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