THE McGILL'S LOST SCROLLS
The Montreal's McGill University was the first institution outside the Middle East that attempted to buy a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in the desert caves at Qumran. The Dead Sea Scrolls are apocryphal Biblical texts written between 150 BC and 70 AD. The Bedouin shepherd Muhammed edh-Dhib ("Muhammad the Wolf") first discovered the scrolls in the winter of 1946.
In 1957 Robert Balgarnie Young Scott, a professor at McGill University, bought parts of the scripts for 20 000 dollars, saving them from being scattered on the market. However, the scrolls did not reach Montreal. In 1961, after the birth of Jewish state and the Suez Crisis, Jordan decided to cancel the sale and barred the manuscripts from leaving the country. Jordan returned McGill's money in 1963.
A new book about the story of this unrealized bargain comes in the next spring. It is called Canada's Big Biblical Bargain: How McGill University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls (McGill-Queens University Press). Its authors are Jason Kalman and Jaqueline du Toit, both alumni of McGill University.
In Canada, the Dead Sea Scrolls can be seen on exhibition at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum until Jan. 3, 2010.
The Death Sea Scrolls consist of about 900 documents. Among them is the popular and controversial Gospel of Judas. In 2006, The National Geographic Society published parts of it. The text can be read here
, for other translations and analyses go to the webpage of The Gnostic Society
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