I. A Cold Boston Night
It is after 8 at night. I am sitting in the reception area of a Boston law firm. The attorneys are still arguing in a conference room. I have been here with our Israeli attorney, Dov Frimer, since 10 in the morning. We have just finished taking the testimony of Harvard Professor John Strugnell, who was fired as chief scroll editor after making grossly anti-Semitic remarks to a Tel Aviv journalist and who is the senior researcher on the Dead Sea Scroll known as MMT. Strugnell’s colleague, Professor Elisha Qimron of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, is suing us in a Jerusalem court for publishing Strugnell’s and his Hebrew reconstruction of this 120-line text. The suit is for $250,000—damages that Qimron claims he personally suffered. The trial is scheduled for ten days hence in Jerusalem. I will have to fly there for the trial. So will Qimron. He is spending the year in Philadelphia on sabbatical. It will be as inconvenient—and expensive—for him as it will be for me.