In 1952 a team of scholars was appointed to piece together and decipher this wealth of material. But, instead of disseminating it to the world, these men withheld it, publishing only skeleton portions.
In autumn of 1991 this monopoly was broken by the Huntington's Library in California. The library announced that it would release photographs of the scrolls, which it had secured from authorities at the time of the 1967 six day war. They had argued that at such an unstable time the scrolls could be in jeopardy of destruction and that photograph copies should be held in America for safe-keeping.
The series of scholars, Catholics and Jewish, who previously had held exclusive control over the scrolls, long maintained that there was nothing of interest in the unreleased materials. They said that no light would be shed on the early days of Christianity. They were wrong.
One portion, numbered 40266, is titled by Eisenman and Wise, "The Foundation of Righteousness (The End of the Damascus Document: An excommunication text)."
It appears to be the excommunication of Paul from the Christian Community. The document was prepared for a convocation of the followers of Christ at the time of the Pentecost, "to curse those who depart to the right (or to the left) of the Torah," that is, the law of Moses.
The scroll fragments praise God. "You are all, everything is in your hand and (You are) the maker of everything, who established the peoples according to their families and their national languages."
They praise God and speak of the maryadas or "boundary markers laid down for us." Those who over-step these boundaries are those whose "soul has rejected the Foundations of Righteousness."
Paul was such a man. Elsewhere he is described as "the Lying adversary," and the "Lying Spouter" who "rejects the law in the midst of the whole congregation", "the Tongue" and the "Scoffer/Comedian" who "poured over Israel the waters of lying."
The authors of the book believe that "the priest commanding the Many" who delivers this excommunication judgement was James, the apostle often referred to as James the Just, the bishop of Jerusalem and the brother of Jesus.
In twisted logic involving blessing and cursing, Paul defends himself in his letters to the Galatians (3:11-13). Paul argues that he is redeemed in his transgressions against the teachings of Jesus, because Christ himself became cursed by the law . Paul is confusing the law of Moses with the law of the Romans and his own law.
In the Acts of the Apostles Paul writes of hurrying off to Jerusalem to be on time for an annual Pentecostal meeting as described in the scrolls. Eisenman and Wise state that "the Acts' picture of the Pentecost can be seen as the mirror reversal of the Pentecost being pictured here." Rather than taking his contribution to Jerusalem Paul was actually about to face excommunication from the community he sought to control.
The authors conclude saying, "The implications are quite startling and far-reaching. One thing is sure: one has in these texts a better exposition of what was really going on in 'the wilderness' in these times so pivotal for Western civilisation, than in any other parallel accounts."
The following two excerpts from an earlier book, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception" also raise doubts as to the legitimacy of Paul's role within the early church:by Michael Bajgent and Richard Leigh (Corgi Books, London, 1991)
"... Paul is in effect the first Christian heretic, and his teachings, which become the foundation of later Christianity, are a flagrant deviation from the 'Original' or 'pure' form extolled by the leadership. Whether James, the 'Lord's brother,' was literally Jesus' blood kin or not (and everything suggests he was), it is clear that he knew Jesus...personally. So did most of the other members of the community or 'early Church,' in Jerusalem, including of course, Peter. When they spoke, they did so with first hand authority. Paul had never had such personal aquaintance with the figure he'd begun to regard as his 'Saviour.' He had only his quasi-mystical experience in the desert and the sound of a disembodied voice. For him to arrogate authority to himself on this basis is, to say the least, presumptuous. It also leads him to distort Jesus' teachings beyond recognition, to formulate, in fact, his own highly individual and idiosyncratic theology, and then to legitimise it by spuriously ascribing it to Jesus."
"As things transpired, however, the mainstream of the new movement gradually coalesced, during the next theree centuries, around Paul and his teachings. Thus, to the undoubted posthumous horror of James and his associates, an entirely new religion was indeed born, a religion that came to have less and less to do with its supposed founder."
©Copyright Knowledge of Reality Magazine 1996-2003. All rights