The first scrolls discovered in 1946-47 were divided into 2 lots. Until 1955 their authenticity was sometimes in question and meanwhile, the Bedouin were discovering nine more caves. From The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, by Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook,
the scroll team began well, publishing its first volume of texts in 1955
… scholars have identified the remains of about 870 separate scrolls. Their long centuries … reduced the vast majority of them to bits and pieces … some no larger than a fingernail. The fourth cave alone, where the biggest cache … was unearthed, contained an estimated 15,000 fragments.
But there was a problem gradually surfacing:
… finding scholars equipped with enough knowledge and time to sort through the material. The government of Jordan—in whose territory, after 1948, the Qumran caves lay—allowed foreign scholars to form a team in the early 1950s…. The scroll team began well, publishing its first volume of texts in 1955 … forty years later the work would still not be complete.
the already slowing pace of publication ground to a complete halt
The work took a lot more time than originally estimated, and
in hindsight … the task was too large and the team too small…. The second volume … came out in 1961…. At this point the already slowing pace of publication ground to a complete halt. As a result of the Six-Day War of June 1967 … the scroll fragments … became the property of … Israel. The … team … held decidedly pro-Arab convictions—were reluctant to continue…. Eventually … worked out an agreement … the team published … in 1977. By this time … the scholarly community was growing increasingly unhappy with the official scrolls team … more than half of what had been found—had never been seen outside a small circle of privileged editors…. In academia … knowledge is power…. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, complaints about the slow pace of publication snowballed…
The original scholars wanted their names attached to the publications
Conspiracy theories arose. “Finally, in the early 1990s, the monopoly of the official team was broken … a comprehensive word list that also provides the context in which each word listed occurs,” this was made by the team and released to certain academic libraries. “… theoretically one might reconstruct not only entire lines” from this list, “but entire scrolls.” So that’s when a
graduate student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati … with his adviser … put the theory into practice … with the aid of a desktop computer … published in September 1991 … triggered another … in November 1991 the new editor-in-chief of the official team … announced that all scholars would have free and unconditional access to all the photographs of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Why did all this happen? The original scholars wanted their names attached to the publications and enjoyed their power too much.
Are you holding anything “hostage” that God wants you to share?
I took the above picture at the Qumran center in Israel.