There are no Secret Scrolls
A Refutation of the Conspiracy Theory
There is no truth to the scrolls being locked away in the Vatican or any other secret place because the Scrolls contain material that would change the history of the beginnings of the Christian Religion.
For a long time the scrolls were under the control of various scholastics who hoped to monopolize them for economic reasons. (This is no longer the case). It took a long time to decipher many of them since they are simply fragments. The reason they were "locked away" was that the scholars who had labored long on the scrolls wanted to keep them out of public hands until they published their own works and made some monetary return for all their labor. Even so many law suits over copy rights on the scroll writings have been filed in the academic community. The wait for the scrolls to be make public however was excessive and one man finally broke ranks and gave public access to the some of the scrolls and that began the opening of the documents to the public which has continued and now proliferated. There are many places that digital reproductions of the Scrolls are stored.
The Isaiah Scroll and the other eight large documents from Cave 1 have been publicly available from 1972 with the publishing of John Trevor's photographs of the Isaiah scroll, the Pesher to Habakkuk and several other sectarian documents like Rules of the community, The War scroll etc. None of these, nor other fragments have anything that historically affects the beginning of Christian history.
There are some "scholars" who have tried to make the Pesher to Habakkuk be a record of Jesus and his opposition to the High Priest and the Sadducees but these have been refuted and the "scholars" shown to be mistaken adventurers. The Pesher is dated in the Herodian period before the Birth of Jesus of Nazareth so it could not be giving a history of him as the "moreh tsedek" (righteous teacher) and the "koheyn ha-rasha' " (The wicked priest) as the ruling priest (or class) that opposed him. The Pesher speaks of the Roman occupation as a major enemy. This occupation began in 64 B.C. E. The Pesher was written shortly after but before the Birth of Christ. Identifying the "moreh ha-tsedek" with "James the Just" has also been shown to be pure speculation but Mr. Robert Eisenmann made money with his book The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians in which he made just such a false proposal.
Other challenges to the beginnings of the Christian faith that have been conjectured by students of the scrolls have been just that "conjecture" with no basis in fact.
It is still not easy to gain access to the scrolls since they are in the hands of scholars and all the sources have not been published and work is still going on to decipher many of the fragments. Thus like any difficult to know areas of life The secrecy gives rise to conspiracy theories. However the scrolls that were bought at first in the 50's from Bedouin Arabs by St. Mark's Monastery in Jerusalem (Eastern Orthodox not related to the Vatican Roman Catholics) were sold to the state of Israel through Yitsak Yadin and they are now in the Museum known as the Shrine of the Book at Hebrew University in Jerusalem along with other scrolls and fragments that have been added to the collection, --not in the Vatican. If there are scrolls in the Vatican they are catalogued and a name and description has been given to them. There are no secret scrolls that have not had some verbal description published about them no matter how small or fragmentary. They all have names.
All the fragments and full documents "that have been unrolled" have been photographed and are on negative films and copies stored in a number of places in the world, including the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Clairemont, California. and perhaps the Vatican. But the Vatican has no proprietary control over any of the scrolls. However every large fragment of one page or more is catalogued and available to the public. Where? The University of Virginia at Charlottesville has a cd rom in a computer open to students on which one can view the thousands of documents of the DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls) that are stored electronically there.
There were 11 caves in which various scrolls were found and the scrolls or fragments of scrolls as well as a copper scroll and clay inscriptions are named after the cave in which they were found. For instance The Great Isaiah Scroll was found in cave 1. Since it is the only book of the "Old Testament" that is complete from the first word to the last, it is called 1 for cave 1, Q for Qumran, and A, for its importance. Thus it is known as 1QA. 1QB is another scroll of Isaiah found in the same cave that is about 3/4 complete, the rest lost to decay. Sometimes to make it more clear they are called 1QisA and 1QisB, The Pesher to Habakkuk is named 1QpHab and so on. The War scroll found in the same cave is named 1QM. All the scrolls and fragments have a name depending on the cave in which they were found. There are no secret scrolls.
An essay which does a much more thorough job of addressing what has been done by the 'scholars" who have had control of the scrolls can be seen here
Don't hesitate to write if you have more questions.
Please send comments or corrections via email to F Miller
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