A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

Everything You’ve Ever Learned about the Dead Sea Scrolls is Wrong

…or so says Neil Altman, who has yet again managed to persuade (bribe?) a newspaper to publish another article revising both scholarly consensus and the data. 

According to the editor’s note: 

While [Altman’s] conclusions are not accepted by everyone in the field, they bring up compelling questions surrounding some of the most famed group of documents in human history.

This is only slightly generous:  Last I checked nobody agreed with Altman.  Why? 

“Now, there is accumulating and compelling evidence that undermines everything we originally thought about the scrolls – including an explosive finding in China that suggests these historic texts date from medieval times.”

Part of that evidence is a new scroll, the Moshe Leah Scroll. Leo Gabow, the late president of the Sino-Judaic Institute in California, recalled in his institute’s journal: “In July of 1983, a curious article appeared in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. … ‘A Jew Looking for Correspondents.’ His name is Moshe Leah. He is 35 years old. … He lives in Taiwan.”

The key to the string of revelations was the Moshe Leah Scroll. Its mere existence suggested that the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls was wrong. Unless the Moshe Leah Scroll was a well-done forgery. Its authenticity was investigated in the 1980s, but further details were apparently stowed  away. It was not until March of last year that the Sino-Judaic Institute found and revealed documentation of the investigation and correspondence. As others had found, the research showed parallels.  Continued From Page 8 between the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Moshe Leah Scroll and other texts. As one document significantly states, “at least four paleographers have independently identified the calligraphy in the available passages (of the Moshe Leah Scroll) as closely akin to that of the Dead Sea Scroll era.”

The research also indicated that the scribe of the Moshe Leah Scroll was interested only in the prophetic passages of Isaiah and omitted the “prose” and “chronological” verses. According to the reports, those verses were intentionally “left out by design” by the scribe.  On the same token, the Isaiah scroll in the Moshe Leah contains Aramaic words that are lacking in the Qumran Isaiah Scroll. On the other hand, the Qumran Isaiah Scroll contains Western numbers and Tiberian Masoretic vowels (both of which started somewhere between 10th and 12th century A.D.) that are lacking in the Moshe Leah Scroll.

What did it mean? The Moshe Leah could very well predate the Dead Sea Scrolls. No ordinary forger (and certainly not Moshe Leah, who didn’t even know Hebrew, according to Pollak) could have so expertly lifted out such specific passages and elements from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scroll wasn’t a fake.

Wow–the level of misunderstanding is astounding.  I can’t imaging why scholars might disagree.  My guess is that this guy’s ever seen the Qumran Isaiah Scroll before and doesn’t read Hebrew. 

Major HT to Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica.

September 22, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Thanks for this Justin. Ah, the luxury iof apparently having so little to do that he can spend his days writing stuff like this.

    Comment by Pete | September 23, 2007 | Reply

  2. I know. Man, if only academics could get paid for writing BS all day…wait a minute, some do… never mind.

    Comment by JD | September 26, 2007 | Reply

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