Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Mysteries of Moses

From The Tablet-

It took a while for Chanan Tigay’s eureka moment to sink in.

He had spent four years on a quest to determine the whereabouts of a group of ancient scrolls that were purported to be the oldest text of the Bible in existence—older than the Dead Sea Scrolls. They might be a source of highly significant evidence of the most ancient state of the Bible for scholars, but no one had seen the scrolls since the suicide of their last owner in 1884. And their location was only one of the mysteries surrounding the scrolls: There was strong likelihood the scrolls were fake. Experts at the British Museum in London had disagreed over the age and provenance of the scrolls, and following sensationalist reports in the British press, all of London, including William Gladstone—the prime minister at the time of their appearance—had come to examine them. Over the decades since the scrolls’ disappearance, no lack of drama had been connected to them; the son of a rabbi and biblical scholar, Tigay was merely the latest individual to investigate.

When he first began to probe the mystery behind these ancient scrolls, Tigay had no idea the search would require hundreds of hours of research and take him to nine countries. After four years, he finally saw physical evidence that granted him answers he had been seeking, close to home—in the library of San Francisco State University, the very place where he teaches in the creative writing department.

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