the daily planet program on discovery canada has not one, but two segments on qumran and the origin of the dead sea scrolls. the first segment pits archaeologists jodi magness and yuval peleg against one another in an on-site tour and explanation of the site. the two scholars are interviewed separately and both give their scholarly interpretation of the site. magness argues that the site was the home of a sectarian jewish community responsible for the dead sea scrolls. peleg argues that the site was a pottery production plant and that the scrolls have nothing to do with the site. (for those keeping score at home, dr. magness wins this round ;-)
then, after a segment on the recently named 2009 nobel prize winners for physics (british-american charles k. kao, canadian-american willard s. boyle and american george e. smith for breakthroughs in fiber optics and the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit), the show highlights my graduate research at ucla, the qumran visualization project, presenting it as a new, collaborative, third option that could possibly bring the two warring sides together and resolve at least some of the interpretative issues regarding qumran. using video clips generated by the qumran digital model, the show pieced together an interview i did a few months ago to present my position on qumran, which understands the remains to be those of a hasmonean fort that was abandoned, and then recoccupied and expanded by jewish sectarians. these conclusions are detailed in my book, qumran through (real) time (gorgias press).
at the end, the show’s hosts, jay ingram and ziya tong discuss my approach. they conclude that while i attempt to bring all of the data together in an objective manner, archaeologists like magness and peleg will probably remain unconvinced, and will consider my approach to be simply one more subjective offering into the mix. of course, i disagree, but they’re the hosts; they get to say what they want. besides, i’ll do my responding in new orleans at this year’s 2009 sbl annual meeting ;-)
(n.b. qumran commentator and defender of the so-called ‘jerusalem theory,’ ‘charles gadda,’ was not interviewed for this segment.)
Filed under: archaeology, bible, dead sea scrolls, digital humanities, israel, palestine, qumran, religion, robert cargill, science, technology, ucla Tagged: | archaeology, canada, charles gadda, collaboration, daily planet, dead sea scrolls, discovery, jewish, jodi magness, nobel prize, physics, qumran, qumran digital model, robert cargill, sectarian, yizak magen, yuval peleg