Two American scholars have filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia against Professor Elisha Qimron of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, asking the court to break Qimron’s stranglehold on one of the most important still-unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls, known as MMT.
A Jerusalem court recently held that Qimron owned the copyright on the text of MMT that he reconstructed from six fragmentary copies found in Cave 4 at Qumran. The two American scholars, Professor Ben Zion Wacholder of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Professor Martin Abegg of Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, were known to be working on their own reconstruction of MMT. Qimron threatened Wacholder and Abegg with legal action in Israel and in the United States if the American scholars made “any use” of Qimron’s reconstruction of the text. Wacholder and Abegg, as all experts in the field, were thoroughly familiar with Qimron’s reconstruction, which had circulated widely in photocopies.