Friday, July 23, 2010

The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill UCLA (July 22, 2010) - Pretending to Study the Isaiah Scroll

How's this for a posed photograph.  A camera behind and one taking the shot. The pair are pretending to study the Isaiah Scroll.  The caption published with the photo was:

"With Shrine of the Book curator Adolfo Roitman (left), Professor Cargill looks at the longest segment of the actual Isaiah Scroll, the oldest copy of any book of the Bible known today. Only a few select scholars are allowed access to the documents." 

This was published by UCLA's press officer Meg Sullivan .   She name-drops on Cargill's behalf.  But she doesn't stop there.  She then adds to the cringe factor by writing, "only a few select scholars are allowed access to the documents." Of course Cargill approves, because he published it on his blog. This was part of the publicity for Cargill's 'show' produced by National Geographic, which sets out to prove that it was possible for about one third of the Scrolls to have been written (and the vellum manufactured) at Qumran.

We now see what (who) Robert Cargill is all about.
Meg Sullivan comments on the picture, another quick pose. "Archaeologist Robert Cargill examines a full-scale facsimile of the 2000-year-old-plus Isaiah Scroll at Jerusalem's Shrine of the Book." This was a part of the series of photographs to publicize his film.  Nothing to do with archaeology!  And Cargill published this photo on his blog too.  Is he admiring his own reflection, or is he reflecting on what he said in the Jim West interview? - "But remember – you have to take some claims about the Dead Sea Scrolls with a grain of salt" -  especially the claims of Robert Cargill.

To emphasise his importance, Meg Sullivan further reports Cargill as recalling, "Nobody I know has ever been down there", referring to  the underground vault beneath the Shrine of the Book.  Never mind that he was accompanied by a still camera-man, and the video camera-man (above) who "captured the moving moment" for his forthcoming "show".  This owes more to Hollywood than it does to archaeology.  How much did the British film Company pay the The Shrine of the Book for its services?  And how much did UCLA pay the British film Company?

If roughly one third of the scrolls were manufactured and written at Qumran, why have no finds of vellum been reported as coming from the complex?  Scrolls survived in the caves.  So why doesn't he look in the right place for the origin of the Scrolls?  Jerusalem had the necesary production facilities: a plentiful supply of water, animals, ink, inkwells, people capable of writing, and the sort of folk with the motives revealed in the Scrolls.  The Scrolls were written in Jerusalem by priests.  They were stored carefully at Qumran before the Romans came.  The Scrolls were stolen from Agrippa I's library.