The Biblical Archaeology Society’s publication of transcripts of Dead Sea Scrolls (“BAS Publishes Secret Dead Sea Scrolls,” BAR 17:05) has been almost universally applauded, with one prominent exception—the editors who still control access to the secret documents. According to a headline in the Jerusalem Post they are “enrage[d].”
John Strugnell, recently fired as editor in chief of the Dead Sea Scroll publication team for calling Judaism “a horrible religion,” accused Professor Ben-Zion Wacholder and Martin Abegg of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, who reconstructed the secret manuscripts with the aid of a computer, of “stealing.” Professor Jonas Greenheld of Hebrew University, another insider, described the BAS publication as “scholarly thievery.” Father Emile Puech of the École Biblique in Jerusalem, another member of the team of editors, is considering suing us for breach of international law.
We planned to publish the three secret texts on this page even before the Huntington Library decided to release its photographs. However, we now expect considerably less flack from the scroll cartel for doing so. No doubt the former monopolists will now applaud our publication of these texts.
These three photographs have never before been seen by the public. Translations and brief commentary have been provided by Robert H. Eisenman, professor of Middle East Religions and chair, Department of Religious Studies, California State University, Long Beach. Brackets in the translations indicate gaps in the text, erasures or a presumed reading.