According to a report issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority, five scholars are now engaged full time in preparing Dead Sea Scrolls for publication. Approximately 30 others are spending part time on the task.
“A constant effort is being made to expedite the publication of the scrolls,” wrote Amir Drori, director of the Antiquities Authority and author of the report. Pursuant to this effort, an Israeli Advisory Committee appointed to advise Mr. Drori on all matters relating to the publication of the scrolls has met approximately 30 times since 1989.
In 1967, after the Six-Day War, when the unpublished scrolls in the Rockefeller Museum fell into Israeli hands, Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin and then-director of the Antiquities Department Avraham Biran, “assured Père [Roland] de Vaux, then chairman of the Dead Sea Scrolls publication project, that ‘the rights of all scholars who worked on the publication of the scrolls kept at the Rockefeller Museum would be safeguarded,’ as customary in scholarly work,” states the report. However, according to a statement made by Yadin before his death in 1984, not referred to in the report, de Vaux’s team was “permitted to continue” only on condition that they “proceed quickly with the publication of the thousands of fragments they had had at their disposal for so many years.” As Yadin observed in his statement, when the agreement was made with de Vaux, the scholars assigned to publish the scrolls “had published very little of the material, and this had been a great loss to the scientific world.”