Ever since their initial discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have aroused excitement, jealousy, and not a little dread among some who feared their contents might undermine the foundations of religion. For more than 35 years the majority of scroll text remained the intellectual property of an exclusive coterie of scholars. The Biblical Archaeology Reviewwas instrumental in the success of breaking that monopoly.
This path-clearing volume is an illuminating assessment of what these texts reveal about a lost era in the history of two world religions. Many questions on the Scrolls' original purposes are discussed. Additional chapters address the controversies surrounding the Scrolls' discovery and their long suppression including the possible role of the Vatican and charges of anti-Semitism on the part of a former chief editor of the official scroll publication team.