A little over a week ago I posted about the Dead Sea Scrolls coming to San Diego. Two reasons why I posted were, I’ve always been fascinated by the scrolls and I know a few folks that visit regularly live in So Cal..

You might say it was a public service announcement.

Then, seven days later, I received a comment from ‘Charles’ making statements about and asking valid questions concerning the upcoming exhibit and the lectures involved with it.

Controversy? What controversy? It’s just a bunch of old papers, right? Well! OK. Papyrus and animal hides. Slap ’em into cases with bullet proof glass (See National Treasure) and let people file by to look at ’em. What’s the problem?

Well. It seems the people running the show are from the ‘old school’. This group supports the Qumran-Essene theory of Scroll origins which basically stated is the town close to the caves where the scrolls were found (Khirbet Qumran) housed the people (Essenes) that wrote the scrolls. In the 1980’s and 90’s this view was challenged. Some say that many of the scrolls do not match up to Essene teachings. As a result… During the 1990s, another theory expressed “that the authors of the scrolls were “Essene-Like” or a splinter Essene group rather than simply Essenes as such. This modification of the Essene theory takes into account some significant differences between the world view expressed in some of the scrolls and the Essenes as described by the classical authors. Together, the two theories may be called the “Qumran-sectarian theory”. (Wikipedia) Other theories concerning the origins of the scrolls are:

    • It was a Sadducee community in Qumram.
    • The scrolls came from several libraries in Jerusalem and were hidden in 68-70 AD during the Roman Seige.
    • The scrolls were part of the actual library of the Temple in Jerusalem
    • A Christian connection (that prying1 sees as wishful thinking) that one scrap is from the book of Mark or that James the Just and Paul of Tarsus are described on scraps in some way.

Apparently the recommended reading list and stated lecturers do not touch upon the debates concerning the origins of the scrolls themselves. That is, the Qumran-Essene theory versus the newer theories. For years there was a clique of scholars that had control over the scrolls until they were forced to release them for others to study. It appears that the same clique is running the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition at San Diego Natural History Museum as at the Seattle Exhibition last year and others in previous years. For example the book, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?: The Search for the Secret of Qumran by Dr. Norman Golb could easily be listed but it is not. Dr. Golb’s and numerous other author’s evidence contrary to the Qumran-Essene theory has not appeared at any ‘official’ showing of the scrolls.

prying1 sez: In the United States people love debate. Especially if pies are thrown at the end. Just kidding about the pies but I’m not kidding about the debate. The San Diego Museum and the Associations sponsoring the showing of the scrolls are seeking monetary gain (and rightly so – They need and deserve pay for the work being done concerning the scrolls. The scrolls don’t preserve and translate themselves.) along with their desire to ‘entertain’ and ‘teach the public’.

If they were smart they would play on this controversy. I’m not saying that they should advertise it like a wrestling smackdown but it could be played up and have two opponents meet to present their views. Perhaps two panels to meet and confer in a public setting with or without tickets.

I’m certain it would sell and increase interest in the exhibit. Looking at the lecture schedule it looks like there are plenty of nights available to toss this subject in.

I am in no way a scholar although I’m not stupid either. Seems to me the ones “holding on to the knowledge” are simply trying to make themselves appear more important than they really are.

To me that is sad. I thought that when they finally released the scrolls that they might have figured that out for themselves. Living in an ivory tower does not make a person smarter than others or more right than another.

If they are afraid of debate they are simply afraid of being proven wrong.

Truth is. (please note period at the end of that statement) I like to use the word immutable as a qualifying word for ‘truth’. So if they are right or wrong they should learn the truth and move on.

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