A Selective Summary of Fields, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Today”

Last evening, I was privileged to attend the second annual Prentice Meador Lecture at Lipscomb University. There, Weston Fields, the Executive Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, addressed what seemed very nearly to be a full house on the topic “The Dead Sea Scrolls Today.”

Overall, most of Fields’ lecture surveyed certain notable features in the history of the scrolls’ discovery, dissemination, and publication. Much of this narrative has been more or less widely discussed,  but throughout the lecture, Fields repeatedly turned our attention to an uncertain number of yet-unpublished fragments.

In a conversation with William Kando on April 5, Kando mentioned to Fields that the family has still more Dead Sea fragments that they will be looking to sell in the coming years. According to Kando, this group includes at least four or five biblical fragments that are easily readable without infrared lighting. Kando also speculated that the Psalms fragment that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has recently acquired may have been in the shoe box that his father, Kahlil Iskander Shahin, showed Frank Cross in the 1960s when they met in Beirut regarding the Temple Scroll.

Later this week, Fields speaks on the significance of the latest developments in Dead Sea Scrolls research at Lanier Theological Library. When he does so, he will probably also discuss, at least to some extent, the recently much-publicized lead codices that the Jordanian government is seeking to recover. Tickets to this lecture are available for free on the Lanier Theological Library website.

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