From: email@example.com (Gene E. Johannsen)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Rescorla) writes:
>In article <1992May11.email@example.com>
>firstname.lastname@example.org (Gene E. Johannsen) writes:
>>email@example.com (Tony Lezard) writes:
>>I read the book _The Dead Sea Scroll Deception_ by two men whose names
>>escape me right now (it's at home). They base their ideas on another
>>researcher(whose name also escapes me. I'll post a follow up of this
>>when I get the info)
>John Allegro, perhaps?
No. While Allegro plays a significant part in the history of the
scrolls, his conclusions are not what the authors used as their
basis. The researcher whose name I couldn't remember is Robert
Eisenman, who is, according to Biblical Archaeology Review, Chairperson
of the Religious Studies Department and professor of Middle East
religions at California State University.
The authors of the book are Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, whom I've
never encountered before. The book is well written overall, but, as I
state below, I wasn't exactly satisfied with their conclusions.
>>I do remember the ideas though.
>>The authors state that the Vatican is standing in the way of the
>>publishing of the DSS because the DSS go against the ``party line.''
>That wouldn't make any sense. The Vatican doesn't have anything to
>do with publishing the DSS. In fact, many of the people who ARE
>in charge are protestant and would be quite happy to see the
Nope. The men who have had control and first rights to the most
significant portion of the Scrolls over the past forty years have
all been Catholic priests, with the exception of John Allegro who
was agnostic. Allegro was forced off the project (according to
the authors) when he decided to be a little too loose with
some of the ideas. Allegro wrote in a letter to a member of
the 'Scrollery': ``I shouldn't worry about that theological job, if I
were you: by the time I've finished there won't be any Church left
for you to join.''
The Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, where the majority Scrolls are
housed and studied, falls under the jurisdiction of the Catholic
Church's Pontifical Biblical Commission, created by Pope Leo XIII
in 1903 to stop ``Modernism''. (Note: It is implied that all this
is according to the authors. I have no other source for this info.)
The Commission's purpose, according to the _New Catholic Encyclopaedia_
is `to strive ... with all possible care that God's words ... will
be shielded not only from every breath of error but even from every
rash opinion'. All of the Ecole Biblique's directors since 1956 (when
Allegro was starting to make noise) have been members of the Pontifical
Today the Pontifical Biblical Commision is headed by Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger, who also heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
The Congregation has a long history back to the 13th century, though
the name is fairly recent. Back then it was called the Holy Inquisition.
(Remember, I am relying on the authors for this info). For at least
two decades now, the PBC and the CDF have been very closely allied to
each other. In 1971, Pope Paul VI, ``amalgamated the Commission and
Congregation in virtually everything but name.''
Cardinal Ratzinger holds a very fundamental view of Catholicism. This
is an example of his thinking:
``The freedom of the act of faith cannot justify a right to dissent.
This freedom does not indicate freedom with regard to the truth,
but signifies the free determination of the person in conformity
with his moral obligations to accept the truth.''
A scary man whose job is to make sure no one questions Catholic dogma.
As you may guess, this is not the best environment for free scholarly
>>Basically, the DSS are about a Zealot sect of Jews living in a small
>>fortress about 25 miles away from Jerusalem. An interesting entry
>>in the scrolls are that this community called itself Damascus.
>They were emphatically NOT Zealots. The Zealots were military
>militant sect. They are frequently thought to have been
>I don't remember them calling themselves Damascus. You have a reference?
>It's generally called the Qumran sect after where the scrolls were
The view of the Consensus (the Catholic priests working with the
scrolls) is that the people occupying Qumran at the time the scrolls
were written were the Essenes, a group that supposedly practiced, among
other things, strict abstinence and non-violence.
The Qumran community, though, had no single name for themselves.
They referred to themselves variously as the Osim, Ebionim,
Nozrim, Hassidim, or Zaddikim, which are all variations on a theme,
``Keepers (or Doers) of the Law etc''. (The authors get their info for
these assertions from Robert Eisenman) Epiphanius speaks of a
heretical Judaic sect who lived at the Dead Sea and called themselves
the `Ossenes', likely referring to the Qumran community. This is
probably the origin of the term Essene.
According to Eisenman, however, the Essenes were not all that peaceful.
Scrolls found at Masada (_THE_ classical zealot hangout) were copies
of scrolls found at Qumran. The phrase ``Zeal for the Law'' appears
many times in the scrolls. There was a weapons forge at Qumran and
arrows have been found at the site. Some researchers have stated
that the entire structure of the place is martial in character, and
most will agree that it is at least some-what. There is a defensive
tower with three foot thick walls that can only be entered from the
second floor. The ``War Scroll'' contains details about strategy and
tactics, as well as propaganda against the Romans. This and other
evidence suggests that those living at Qumran were not the classical
peaceful Essenes, and may have in fact been a Zealot community.
The ``Damascus Document'' was found in a synagogue in Cairo and was
dated to about the 9th century AD. Eisenman obtained a computer
print-out of a list of scrolls held by the Ecole and found that
ten fragments or copies of the Damascus Document have been recovered,
and these are probably older and more complete than the one found
in Cairo (The Qumran Damascus Documents haven't been released).
The Cairo document, though, makes references to scrolls found at
Qumran, and ``no scholar ... disputes that the `Damascus Document'
is speaking of the same community of the other Qumran scrolls.''
But the ``Damascus Document'' calls this community Damascus.
Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls it wasn't possible to
place the ``Damascus Document'' in its proper context.
>>Remember that Saul was converted to Christianity on the road to
>>Damascus? Well, events in the DSS parallel some of what Paul
>>describes in the Acts of the Apostles. And the DSS fill in the
>>blanks in a very believable way. The idea of the authors is that
>>Paul went to this little community, learned from a figure called
>>The Righteous One, who is described something like Christ (only he
>>is never referred to as mystical. He is a man), but then they had
>>a falling out when Paul stressed Faith and the Righteous One (Being
>>a Jew) stressed Law. After some mis-adventures Paul ends up
>>with the Romans, the Romans end up in the village (This is kind of
>>fuzzy in the book) and Christianity somehow takes off. The authors
>>say it might have been an accident. Paul comes off as a very unsavory
>>character, which is probably the Vatican's main objection to the
>I've never heard any of this. Do you have Scroll citations which support
Saul was dispatched by the High Priest in the temple of Jerusalem to go
to Damascus and put down a group of heretical Jews. This is from Acts,
chapter nine. Most have thought this was referring to the capital of
Syria, but the problem is that Syria, at the time, was not a part of
Israel, and the high priest didn't have the authority to dispatch a `hit-
squad' into Syria. But, if instead of `Damascus` we read `Qumran`,
the whole thing makes a lot more sense, since Qumran is only 25 miles
from Jerusalem and was known to have held a community of heretical Jews.
It was on the road to here that Saul become Paul, and it was here that
Paul met the ``Righteous One''.
As for the religious differences between these two, you'll have to get
and read the book since there is a bit too much for me to give a quick
synopsis here. Eisenman believes that a person referred to as The Liar
in the scrolls is Paul, which indicates how great the differences between
the two probably were.
>>My only problem with it is that there are only two view points
>>presented, that of those currently working on the scrolls (Whose
>>data is sometimes hilariously inaccurate) and that of the man
>>who supplied the theories for the book. Not that he is wrong,
>>but he might be. I would also like the book to be a little more
>Could you get the name. Allegro is known for Conspiracy theories.
His name was Robert Eisenman. If you really want I'll give a list of
>>The book ends on an up note,though, since it seems that photographs of
>>the DSS were found in a University in America somewhere. (Another
>>one of those details my mind refuses to cough up.)
>Yale has one of the frags which was just accidentally found.
>Or maybe that's Nag Hammadi. I'm not sure.
The Huntington Library in California claims that it has a complete
set of photographs of all unpublished scroll material.