Biblical Archaeology Review 19:4, July/August 1993
Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council: Fragments

Qimron Wins Lawsuit

Paying the price for freeing the scrolls

By Hershel Shanks

The Jerusalem court has spoken: Elisha Qimron of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev owns the copyright on the reconstructed text of MMT, one of the most important, and still unpublished, Dead Sea Scrolls.

Now the scholarly community will have to live with that decision—and deal with it in its own way.

Our friends who feel outraged at the decision are asking us, as no doubt our readers will, why are we not appealing. As The Washington Post noted in an editorial titled “Post-Liberation Scrolls”: “Many scholars say they hope Mr. Shanks will appeal.” They cannot understand how a 20th-century researcher can own the copyright on a 2,000-year-old text that he deciphered. As stated in a letter to the editor that appeared in another American newspaper, “The irrationality of this decision is obvious.” Surely, our friends tell us, the Israel Supreme Court would not uphold such an obviously flawed ruling.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.