Biblical Archaeology Review 18:5, September/October 1992
Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council: Fragments

Why Professor Qimron’s Lawsuit Is a Threat to Intellectual Freedom

In the last issue, we printed a letter from Professor Elisha Qimron of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev regarding the lawsuit he has brought against BAR and its editor (“Letters on the Qimron Lawsuit Against BAS,” BAR 18:04). Professor Qimron is claiming over $200,000 in damages because we printed a photocopy of a page from a Polish publication that contained a Hebrew transcription of MMT, a much-discussed Dead Sea Scroll fragment that has still not been officially published more than 35 years after it was discovered. Professor Qimron contends that we infringed his copyright by printing a photocopy of his transcription of MMT in our two-volume set of photographs of unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments.a

In his letter, Professor Qimron argues that we inaccurately described his legal claim “as if it were against ‘intellectual freedom’ and the freedom to publish.” His claim, he says, only relates to one page in the two-volume set. Eliminate the one page that contains his transcription of MMT and he has no objection to our selling the set of photographs.

True enough. But the one page to which he objects very directly involves intellectual freedom and the freedom to publish.

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