Page 10 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

2
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
o f the University o f Chicago, published a volume entitled
The
Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered: The First Complete Translation and In­
terpretation of 50 Key Documents Withheld for Over 35 Years
(Rockport, Mass.: Element, 1992). Even more de term ined to
open up the Scrolls to research was Hershel Shanks, ed ito r o f
the
Biblical Archaeology Review,
who was instrumenta l in bringing
ou t in two volumes
A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls
(Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1991), p re ­
pared by Dr. Eisenman and Dr. James M. Robinson, o f the
C laremont G raduate School.
T h e Israeli authorities in charge o f the Dead Sea Scrolls re ­
search expressed unhappiness over these unau tho rized publi­
cations. But it wasn’t until Prof. Elisha Q im ron, o f the Ben-
Gurion University o f the Negev, had b rough t a lawsuit in Israel
against Hershel Shanks tha t the m a tter came to a head. Prof.
Q im ron challenged Shanks for including as an append ix to the
facsimile edition o f the Scrolls the Hebrew text o f
Miqsat Ma’aseh
Torah
(abbreviated as MMT). Prof. Kimron argued tha t he had
devoted many years to reconstructing the fragmen tary text
which he was readying for publication toge ther with a commen­
tary and tha t he had suffered immeasurable loss as a result.
T h e trial in Jerusa lem went in Prof. Q im ron ’s favor. T h e
court ru led tha t the copyright belonged to him and he was
awarded 150,000 shekels in damages. W he ther Shanks will re ­
spond with a coun tersu it in the United States remains to be
seen. Prof. Q im ron also intends to bring suit against Dr.
Eisenman and his co-authors who used the f ru it o f his labors
without permission and without giving him credit. T h e MMT
document, which originally consisted o f at least 150 lines and
o f which some 130 lines have been reconstructed , has thus come
into special prom inence. Its contents, which rep resen t an ultra-
pious in terp re ta tion o f Jewish law, will continue to be studied
for the light they cast on sectarian differences du r ing Second
Tem p le days and on the development o f the
halakhah.
II
T h e d iffering views and the legal complications described
above raise the problem o f the abuse o f copyright. Does the
unau tho rized use o f an au th o r ’s unpub lished work on the
Scrolls rep resen t an infringem en t o f copyright? And how does