The monopoly held by the small coterie of scholars who control the still-secret Dead Sea Scrolls is slowly being broken.
The Biblical Archaeology Society, publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review, is publishing A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls—The Hebrew and Aramaic Texts from Cave Four, edited and reconstructed by Professor Ben Zion Wacholder and Martin G. Abegg, both of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Wacholder and Abegg reconstructed the texts from a concordance assembled in the late 1950s but not published until 1988; a copy of the concordance was deposited in 1989 in the library of Hebrew Union College, where Wacholder teaches. The concordance lists in alphabetical order all words in the non-Biblical texts found in Qumran 4, the richest of the caves, containing fragments of more than 500 different scrolls. It identifies the various texts in which each word is found. For each word listed, the concordance also gives adjacent words. With the aid of a computer, Wacholder and Abegg have been able to reconstruct texts that are still being kept secret by the official team of editors.
The concordance proves that the texts of the documents were transcribed as much as 30 years ago and could have been made available to scholars as early as 1960.