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Museum Exhibitions Intensify Controversy Over Dead Sea Scrolls

"Dr. Norman Golb, a world-class scholar, has written an extraordinary letter (which follows) that concerns the way the Dead Sea Scrolls are presented in museums. Golb’s many studies and reports on his historical discoveries have appeared in learned journals in the United States and overseas. His new book, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? -- The Search for the Meaning of the Qumran Manuscripts, will be published by Scribner’s in the late autumn of 1994. Dr. Golb has been for many years in the thick of a dispute with a team of international scholars who not only exerted a monopoly control over access to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but reached the view originally formulated by the late Eliezer Sukenik, Andre Dupont-Sommer, Yigael Yadin (a noted archeologist and hero of the Israeli war of independence) and others that the people who wrote the Scrolls were Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect living in pre-Christian Palestine. In the early 1990s, Golb took a leading role in freeing the Dead Sea Scrolls for study by the scholarly community, and in organizing an international congress on the Scrolls in New York under the auspices of the Oriental Institute and the New York Academy of Sciences. In 1980, however—a decade earlier—Golb published an article that advanced the hypothesis that the Dead Sea Scrolls did not originate with a sect living in the Qumran area of the Dead Sea; they were rather the products of several sects and parties in ancient Judea, and were removed from Jerusalem libraries by Jews and hidden in the Qumran caves on the eve of the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D..."

Author(s):  Golb, Norman
Format:  Article
Publisher:  Oriental Institute
Publication City:  Chicago
Date:  2007-
Source:  reprinted from The Aspen Institute Quarterly, Spring 1994, v. 6:2 pp. 79-98