Shapira and the “Moses” Scroll: Day by Day with Ross Nichols

Ross Nichols, author of the best documented and most up-to-date account of the entire Moses Shapira “Deuteronomy” scroll saga, The Moses Scroll, is a must read for anyone wanting to keep current with the latest archival search on the entire Shapira question–along with Idan Dershowitz’s recent published articles and book. I am kind of amazed at the misinformation that is regularly passed along on the question of the authenticity of these “Dead Sea Scrolls,” by both specialists and non-specialists

I along with many other scholars, trained to mouth the words “Shapira the Forger” from my earliest days in academia, was sort of stuck in a “time-warp.” All that changed in February and March of 2021–when Nichols and Dershowitz published their studies. That two studies, one presenting the “story” in impressive and accurate detail (Nichols), the other reframing the entire authenticity case (Dershowitz), would appear weeks apart–with neither researcher knowing of the work of the other, is truly one of those remarkable serendipitous moments in the history of scholarship.

Since March 2021 Nichols and Dershowitz have moved ahead in a collaborative way, exchanging all sorts of information among a small international group of us involved in cutting edge “Shapira” archive research–including two recent trips to Germany and the UK and new materials from the Israel State archive. What is emerging is quite remarkable, some of which is now being systematically laid out by Nichols in his blog. The past two weeks he has been posting, day by day, the fateful events of August 1883 when everything stood in the balance in terms of the Shapira “forgery” verdict that emerged. There was so much going on behind the scenes, both in Germany and the UK, that is now unfolding. Take a look and follow the story–and be sure you get the book, The Moses Scroll, that provides a page-turning overview of the whole.

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