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Manchester and the Copper Scroll

17 Feb 2014

Professor George J Brooke, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis and an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, has featured in a documentary about the Copper Scroll broadcast on the Yesterday channel (with a repeat on Wednesday, 19 February at 12 noon; Freeview channel 19).

The programme is Episode 12 in Series 2 on Raiders of the Lost Past. It describes the role of John Allegro, in the 1950s and 1960s at the Victoria University, in bringing the Scroll to the College of Science and Technology to be opened there by Professor H Wright Baker. Wright Baker sawed it into strips.

From the outset Allegro believed the Scroll contained references to actual buried treasure, probably from the Jerusalem Temple before it was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70; most scholars recently have come to agree with his position, having originally been disposed to see the contents of the Scroll as a fantasy.

The documentary describes the vindication of John Allegro's position. Professor Brooke organized an exhibition at the Manchester Museum in 1997-1998, seen by 35,000 people, which brought the Copper Scroll back to the University of Manchester again.