Sunday, July 15, 2007

Qumran scrolls view challenged

US expert gives alternative tour of Dead Sea Scrolls, says Judeans fleeing Romans wrote text,7340,L-3425352,00.html
Yaakov Lappin
Published: 07.15.07, 02:11 / Israel Jewish Scene

An American academic leading visitors around an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Natural History Museum in San Diego will challenge the consensus on the identity of the scrolls' authors, the Chicago Jewish News said on Friday.

Professor Norman Golb, of the Jewish History and Civilization department at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, does not believe that the scrolls were authored by the ancient Jewish Essene sect, a pacifist group, as most experts believe, arguing instead that the scrolls were authored by a variety of Jewish residents of Judea who fled the Roman Army in 70 C.E.

"In the last few years, the Chicago scholar's theory has been bolstered by the work of two leading Israeli archaeologists on the basis of 10 years of archaeological excavations at Qumran, where most of the scrolls were found and where the Essenes were said to have lived," the Chicago Jewish News said.

"Still, Golb's theories remain controversial, and the current exhibit in San Diego and others that visited several U.S. cities (Chicago not among them) in 2006 and early 2007 are sure to fan the flames," the article added.

The scrolls, discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd, are "written primarily in Hebrew and Aramaic, with a few in Greek, include texts from the Hebrew Bible, commentary on the texts, information about daily life in the Second Temple period, writings on theology, war, discipline, religious practices, membership requirements of a sect that some believe to be the Essenes, and lists of hidden caches of treasures and weapons."

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