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Dan Wilkerson
Dan Wilkerson

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English



According to former chief editor of the Dead Sea Scroll editorial team John Strugnell, there are at least four privately owned scrolls from Cave 11, that have not yet been made available for scholars. Among them is a complete Aramaic manuscript of the Book of Enoch.[432]




The complete Dead Sea scrolls in English



Some of the fragments and scrolls were published early. Most of the longer, more complete scrolls were published soon after their discovery. All the writings in Cave 1 appeared in print between 1950 and 1956; those from eight other caves were released in 1963; and 1965 saw the publication of the Psalms Scroll from Cave 11. Their translations into English soon followed.


In 1991, researchers at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ben Zion Wacholder and Martin Abegg, announced the creation of a computer program that used previously published scrolls to reconstruct the unpublished texts.[498] Officials at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, led by Head Librarian William Andrew Moffett, announced that they would allow researchers unrestricted access to the library's complete set of photographs of the scrolls. In the fall of that year, Wacholder published 17 documents that had been reconstructed in 1988 from a concordance and had come into the hands of scholars outside of the International Team; in the same month, there occurred the discovery and publication of a complete set of facsimiles of the Cave 4 materials at the Huntington Library. Thereafter, the officials of the Israel Antiquities Authority agreed to lift their long-standing restrictions on the use of the scrolls.[499]


After further delays, attorney William John Cox undertook representation of an "undisclosed client", who had provided a complete set of the unpublished photographs, and contracted for their publication. Professors Robert Eisenman and James Robinson indexed the photographs and wrote an introduction to A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which was published by the Biblical Archaeology Society in 1991.[500] Following the publication of the Facsimile Edition, Professor Elisha Qimron sued Hershel Shanks, Eisenman, Robinson and the Biblical Archaeology Society for copyright infringement for publishing, without authorization or attribution, his decipherment of one of the scrolls, MMT. The District Court of Jerusalem found in favor of Qimron in September 1993.[501] The Court issued a restraining order, which prohibited the publication of the deciphered text, and ordered defendants to pay Qimron NIS 100,000 for infringing his copyright and the right of attribution. Defendants appealed the Supreme Court of Israel, which approved the District Court's decision, in August 2000. The Supreme Court further ordered that the defendants hand over to Qimron all the infringing copies.[502] The decision met Israeli and international criticism from copyright law scholars.[503][504][505][506][507]


Of the first three facsimile sets, one was exhibited at the Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, and a second set was purchased by the British Library in London. A further 46 sets including facsimiles of three fragments from Cave 4 (now in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Amman, Jordan) Testimonia (4Q175), Pesher Isaiahb (4Q162) and Qohelet (4Q109) were announced in May 2009. The edition is strictly limited to 49 numbered sets of these reproductions on either specially prepared parchment paper or real parchment. The complete facsimile set (three scrolls including the Isaiah Scroll and the three Jordanian fragments) can be purchased for $60,000.[508]


On 25 September 2011 the Israel Museum Digital Dead Sea Scrolls site went online.[517][518] It gives users access to searchable, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. As of May 2012[update], five complete scrolls from the Israel Museum have been digitized for the project and are now accessible online: the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple Scroll, and the War Scroll.


The most complete scrolls are held by the Israel Museum, with more pieces and smaller fragments found in other institutions and private collections. Tens of thousands of fragments from 900 Dead Sea manuscripts are held by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which has separately begun its own project to put them online in conjunction with Google.


The third area of impact is the Hebrew and Aramaic languages used in Judea in the last two centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. The dating of the scrolls ranges from the end of the third century B.C. to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Roughly 120 Qumran texts are Aramaic, whereas all the other nonbiblical texts are written in Hebrew (a few biblical texts are in Greek). Qumran Hebrew is now seen as a development from the late postexilic form of biblical Hebrew (500 to 200 B.C.), but it is not yet the same as the Hebrew of the Mishna. Even though Hebrew never completely died out in postexilic Judea, the Jews of Qumran seem to have made an effort to reinstate the ''sacred language.'' Their sectarian writings and much of their parabiblical literature were composed in such Hebrew, which was previously unknown to us.


Vermes's book does not present an English translation of the biblical texts, so a quarter of the 812 texts recovered from the Qumran caves do not appear here. What he means by the ''complete'' scrolls is an English version of the nonbiblical, sectarian and intertestamental Qumran writings. His preface explains that he does not offer a translation of ''every fragment retrieved from the caves,'' but of ''all the texts sufficiently well preserved to be understandable in English.'' 041b061a72


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