The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins

By Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 3
The Aramaic “Son of God” Text
from Qumran Cave 4 (4Q246)

The Aramaic text, which was discovered in Qumran Cave 4 in 1952 and employs the titles “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High,” figures in the account of a notorious book by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, which I mentioned at the end of the preceding chapter.1 They based their account of that text on the brief article that Hershel Shanks, the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, wrote, having heard me lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1989. Shanks quoted some lines of the text,2 which I had published fifteen years before,3 after J. T Milik had publicly lectured on it at Harvard University in 1972 and it was judged to be in the public domain. According to Baigent and Leigh, an “unnamed scholar, whose conscience was troubling him,” had leaked the text to the Biblical Archaeology Review only in 1990!

Worse still, Baigent and Leigh thought that this was the document to which John M. Allegro had alluded in one of his letters to Roland de Vaux, the excavator of Khirbet Qumran and director of the scroll team that was working on the Cave 4 fragments, which Allegro had written in September 1956.

1. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (London:
Jonathan Cape; New York: Summit Books, 1991) 66.

2. Anonymous, “An Unpublished Dead Sea Scroll Text Parallels Luke's Infancy Nar-
rative,” BARev 16/2 (1990) 24.

3. J. A. Fitzmyer, “The Contribution of Qumran Aramaic to the Study of the New
Testament,” NTS 20 ( 1974) 382-407, esp. 391-94; reprinted in a slightly revised form in WA
or SBNT, 85-113, esp. 92-93.

-41-

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