BAR is very pleased and proud to publish Yigael Yadin’s first extensive, popular account of the latest to be discovered and the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We are grieved and saddened, however, that this account is being published posthumously. Yadin died of a heart attack on June 28. The article, “The Temple Scroll,” is perhaps the last he ever worked on. In it he explains for a lay audience what may well be the crowning scholarly achievement of his fruitful life, his monumental three-volume edition of The Temple Scroll, reviewed in Books in Brief by Jacob Milgrom, Professor of Bible at the University of California at Berkeley. Yigael Yadin 1917–1984 is an appreciation of Yadin as military leader, politician, archaeologist and scholar.
One of the Temple Scroll’s many commands for the building of the Temple describes a freestanding 60-foot-high spiral staircase that would connect by a walkway to the Temple’s roof and would be entirely plated with gold. In “The Case of the Gilded Staircase,” Biblical scholar Morton Smith presents a surprising theory for the function of this extraordinary structure: Smith says the ultra-religious Essenes, authors of the Temple Scroll and the other Dead Sea Scrolls, included sun worship in their religious rituals.