The IAA Under Fire for its Treatment of the Dead Sea Scrolls

With thanks to Charlotte Hempel for mentioning this story– which is must reading.

Last week, a peer-reviewed journal called the Restaurator published a controversial article about the Dead Sea Scrolls written by two Berlin-based scientists who charge that these sacred documents are not receiving proper care from the Israeli cultural institutions responsible for their well-being.

The article’s abstract does not mince words:

“Examination of the properties of the scrolls proves that frequent travel, exhibitions and the associated handling induce collagen deterioration that is covered up by the absence of a proper monitoring program.”

“I want the scrolls to be protected,” says Ira Rabin, who co-authored the piece entitled “Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions Around The World: Reasons For Concern” with her colleague Oliver Hahn at the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing.

The 20-page document specifically criticizes the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, who hold responsibility for a majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Both defend their treatment of the scrolls (detailed below).

But first, the criticisms. Rabin and Hahn argue in the Restaurator that:

1. The Dead Sea Scrolls are being exhibited far too much, and that the consequent travel and handling is seriously accelerating their degradation. The authors show that there’s been a substantial increase in international exhibitions in the past two decades.

Read the whole- their criticisms are totally valid.  The Scrolls are treated the same way that Leopold Mozart treated Wolfgang- dragging him all over Europe like a trained monkey.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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