Geza Vermes er ein forskar som har følgt Dødehavsrullane sidan dei første funna i Qumran. Nå har den aldrande mannen skrive ein interessant artikkel i Standpoint.Online under overskrifta The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Vermes gir oss her del i eigne opplevingar knytt til rullane. Me får også hans skildring av kontroversane som har vore omkring offentleggjeringa og hans kommentarar til den siste kritikken av dei anerkjente teoriane om opphavet til rullane.
Slik skriv han om sitt første møte med Dødehavsrullane i 1948:
I was enormously privileged to witness from its initial stages the story of the Scrolls and to play an active part in their investigation and in their communication to the world. I first learned about them in 1948, the year after an Arab shepherd accidentally stumbled on seven rolls in a cave by the Dead Sea in British mandatary Palestine, not yet divided into Israel and Jordan. I was reading biblical studies in Louvain (Belgium) and keenly followed the press reports about Jewish manuscripts purported to date to the end of the pre-Christian era. The story seemed unbelievable: it flatly contradicted the accepted wisdom according to which no ancient document written on leather could survive in the Palestinian climate.
The decisive moment came one sunny morning, still in 1948. My professor of Hebrew turned up in class with the photograph of one of the manuscripts: it arrived that morning from Jerusalem and represented chapter 40 of the book of Isaiah. I stared at the picture, slowly deciphered the strange script, and felt in my bones that the document was genuine. At once I became captivated, and after tasting sweet novelty for a few months, I decided with youthful recklessness to devote my life to the study of what was immediately proclaimed «the greatest ever Hebrew manuscript find of all times». Against advice, I resolved to write my doctoral dissertation on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ever since then they and my life have been intertwined.