In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd in the Judean desert alongside the Dead Sea cast a stone inside a cave and heard a breaking noise. Inside a cave he saw one of the most important discoveries in history, clay jars with rolled-up ancient scrolls inside made of animal skin parchment written 2,000 years ago, 80 years before the birth of Jesus, 90% written in ancient Hebrew while the rest in Greek and Aramaic . He and his companions later found a total of seven scrolls . They sold three of the scrolls through antiquities dealer to a Hebrew University professor and remaining four to a Christian cobbler in Bethlehem named Kando who later sold it to the archbishop of the Assyrian Orthodox Church.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the archbishop went to U.S. carrying the smuggled Dead Sea scrolls and sold them at Wall Street Journal classified ads which was bought through a front man by Israeli war hero and archaeologist Yigael Yadin. In  the 1967 Six-Day War, Israeli soldiers went to Kando’s house in Bethlehem to look for the rumored very important scroll kept inside his house. Kando told them after a brief imprisonment about the scroll, which he sold to Israeli government for $125,000, hidden inside a shoe box under a floor tile in his bedroom. The important scroll is the longest one ever found 26.7 feet long and is now called the Temple Scroll because it describes the construction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that God gave to Moses in the desert.

But Kando kept some fragments of scrolls that he later put in a Swiss deposit box. when he died in 1993, his sons decided to sell it to a Norwegian businessman and Biblical manuscript collector Martin Schoyen who bought total of 115 parcels. When Schoyen can no longer afford to buy Dead Sea fragments due to financial loss years ago, William Kando decided to go to U.S. and sell the scrolls’ fragments.

Israel Antiquities Authority holds the largest collection with more than10,000 scroll fragments and still counting but what they are targeting right now is a well-preserved cereal-box size Genesis fragment that tells about Joseph written in ancient Paleo-Hebrew language and is up for sale for $40 million. Five years ago William Kando tried to sell it for $1.2 to Israeli diamond billionaire Shlomo Moussaieff  who offered to buy to give it Israel’s antiquities authority but refused when the price was deemed too high. Israel government believes Kando still holds 20 scroll fragments and they are keeping tabs on any sales from Kando as they believe the Dead Sea Scrolls are Israel’s national treasures. Christian colleges and evangelical collectors in America have spent millions buying the scroll fragments which the Israeli antiquities and institutions refused to do according to William Kando because they can’t afford them.

copyright 2013 katenews2day

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