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Ever since shepherd children stumbled upon the Dead Sea Scrolls, a small group of scholars controlled access to these writings. These scholars painstakingly edited and published so far about half the historic texts. Scholars not numbered among the select few complained of the arrogance implicit in limiting access to the original materials. Now the critics have their chance. In late 1991 the Biblical Archaeology Society published a "facsimile edition" of the previously unpublished scrolls. Professor Robert H. Eisenman, coeditor of the new edition, boasted that this was "'the last stage in breaking the monopoly' of authorized editors over the scroll texts." One of those authorized editors responded that it would be "'presumably immoral and unethical'" for scholars to work with the newly released texts until he and his colleagues had translated them. He forecast shoddy research. Professor Eisenman was unconcerned: "Now we can let free competition determine what the best scholarship is."


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