Is the Vatican Suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls? Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov-Dec 1991.


Roland de Vaux

Roland de Vaux

A book that will soon be available in the United States was recently published in England under the title The Dead Sea Scroll Deception by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (Jonathan Cape, 1991). The book’s thesis is that the Vatican is suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls because they will undermine vital Christian doctrine.

The authors’ first bit of evidence is the unconscionable publication delays- Of over 500 texts found in Qumran Cave 4 beginning in 1952, only approximately 100 have been published after nearly 40 years. (The 300 texts from other caves have almost all been published.)

Even more sinister is the fact that the small coterie of editors who control access to the 400 unpublished texts from Cave 4 won’t let other scholars see their secret hoard.

The team of Cave 4 editors are largely Catholic clerics, centered at the Dominican-sponsored Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française in what was until 1967 Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem. The editorial team was assembled beginning in 1953 by Père Roland de Vaux, who, according to Baigent and Leigh, exercised “virtually supreme authority” over the scrolls until his death in 1971.

Read the rest of Is the Vatican Suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls? in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.

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