As we go to press, the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post have announced that the prestigious Huntington Library in San Marino, California, will release photographs of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls to all scholars, a step that BAR has been urging for years.
The Huntington Library obtained the photographs in 1980 from Mrs. Elizabeth Hay Bechtel, who in part financed the purchase of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Mrs. Bechtel has since died.
One of the most important and powerful research libraries in the world, the Huntington Library is a far more formidable opponent for the Dead Sea Scroll editing team to face than is BAR. The Israel Antiquities Authority intitially reacted with fury. It accused Huntington of a “breach of agreement.” Its FAX continued: “It is your legal and moral obligation to comply with the stipulations of the agreement, which clearly forbids such actions.” The Authority concluded by asking Huntington to “save us the trouble of taking legal actions.”
New York Times-columnist William Safire called the Israel Antiquities Authority “insular jerks.” The Washington Post called the Authority “ridiculous.”
The Authority now appears to be changing its tune.