In pursuing the future, it is always important to recognize the past. Occasionally, the modern world is lucky to discover archaeological artifacts that
connect present-day humanity to its ancestry. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is one such valuable link. The Dead Sea Scrolls, named for the
location of the caves where they were discovered, are considered by many scholars to be the single greatest biblical archaeological find. Many believe
that the scrolls hold crucial information about the historical relationship between Judaism and early Christianity. Some further believe that the scrolls
were written by a monastic Jewish sect known as the Essenes. The scrolls, comprised mainly of “religious writings, messianic prognostications, psalms
and hymns, some of which anticipate ideas expressed in the New Testament,” may provide answers to historians’ and theologians’ questions regarding
a period in history about which they had only been able to speculate.
Since their discovery, the scrolls have been a constant source of controversy. They have been the subject of battles over accessibility,
monopolization, and publication delays. Most recently, debate has focused on copyrightability of the reconstructed scrolls and copyright infringement.
One of the unfortunate realities about archaeological artifacts is that they are rarely preserved and often are fragmented. Fragmentation of documents
makes it necessary for scientists and scholars to put the pieces back together, as if reassembling a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, ancient document
reconstruction is not as simple as solving a jigsaw puzzle. In many cases, indistinguishable fragments belong to unidentified documents. Unlike a
puzzle, which has one answer, scholarly interpretation of reconstructed artifacts may yield different outcomes. A scholar or archaeologist must
determine which fragments belong together and how those pieces should be arranged to best recreate the original.
In pursuit of the correct combination, a scholar may devote his or her life to reassembly. One Israeli biblical scholar, Elisha Qimron, devoted eleven
years of work to one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In an effort to give free access to all of the scroll manuscripts, Hershel Shanks, founder and current
director of the Biblical Archaeology Society, published a book that included an “unauthorized” facsimile of the document that Qimron had spent years
reconstructing. Subsequently, Qimron brought suit against Shanks in Israel asserting a claim of copyright infringement. This suit set an international
legal precedent. The Israeli decision, the first ruling of its kind in the world, found a copyright in the reconstruction of an ancient text.
The Israeli case and its ruling raise serious questions regarding the freedom to disseminate factual information and the consequences it may have on
scholarly research. The past still contains many mysteries that may be solved only through continuous research and free exchange of ideas. Conferring
a copyright on an artifact reconstruction presents a problem in this pursuit for answers because such a copyright may permit monopolization of ideas,
thereby forestalling future research. Although legal issues similar to those decided in the Israeli case have yet to be fully litigated in the United States,
the well-established U.S. system of copyright law makes the United States the logical forum for the continuation of this debate. In fact, two different
scholars have filed a similar case against Qimron in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In anticipation of this future
litigation, this Comment analyzes Qimron v. Shanks’ and theorizes as to how U.S. copyright law might apply to reconstructed documents.
【Group】41. What is the main issue of this article?
(A)The future of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
(B)The pursuit of the correct combination.
(C)The controversy over Christianity monopolization.
(D)The copyright law and its application to reconstructed documents.