It began, like too many change-of-life stories do, with an uncompleted novel. This novel was about King Saul, and, lo, it was bad. In fact, it was very bad. “It was abominable,” recalls its author, “an embarrassment to read.”
The novel, however, was what Washington lawyer Hershel Shanks had taken a leave of absence from his practice to write. In lieu of a midlife crisis, he had moved his wife and two children to Israel for a year—in 1972—to write it. So, when he realized that he had 300 pages of unreadable fiction, he switched to the next project on the list he had prepared to make sure he would never feel like just another American tourist. A biblical archaeology buff—although he had no formal training in the subject—Shanks wanted to snoop around the ruins of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, one of the biblical sites that became part of Israel after the Six-Day War but had yet to be excavated.
The snooping led to research, and the research led to interaction with some really big deal archaeologists, who encouraged his interest. And it all led to another book, one that wasn’t bad at all: a layman’s guidebook to biblical Jerusalem, which was published in paperback in Israel in 1973 and got a favorable review in the Jerusalem Post.
When the year in Israel was up, Shanks moved back to Washington, returned to his law practice and started a small magazine—Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR)—to indulge his hobbyhorse affection for the Holy Land. It was, at that moment, unimaginable that he would become perhaps the most visible, quotable, divisive figure in the world on the only subject in biblical archaeology that your average person on the street has ever heard of: the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In fact, it could be argued that the only reason most people know about the scrolls, care about the scrolls and would be curious enough to read the next sentence in this article about the scrolls is because of Shanks. A bunch of scholars now hate him—including quite a few of the archaeologists and biblical experts he once hoped would just give a hobbyist a moment of their time. But even his enemies have to admit that Shanks has done an extraordinary job turning an arcane academic debate into an intercontinental spectator sport.
“I don’t believe he could read a Dead Sea Scroll if you paid him.”
He has done all this with his peculiar yet powerful magazine. Today, with a bimonthly circulation of more than 175,000, it is the flagship of a small, Washington-based nonprofit empire with $5 million in revenues controlled by the 62-year-old Shanks. In July, Random House will publish a collection of Shanks’s Dead Sea Scroll coverage from BAR. And copies of all the scrolls are finally being made available to the general academic community: Shanks published an unauthorized book, one edition of which is tied up in Israeli courts, and the Israelis have authorized their own microfiche version. It is the ultimate triumph of the layman over the experts, the dilettante over the masters.
And now that they’re published, what will Hershel Shanks finally do with the 2,000-year-old scrolls he has worked so hard to free from the bonds of academic tyranny?
“Well, he certainly won’t read them,” says John Strugnell, the recently deposed chief editor of the scrolls, who considers Shanks his nemesis. “I don’t believe he could read a Dead Sea Scroll if you paid him.”
There is no more curious animal in the world of the printed word than the editor-publisher-founder of a specialty magazine or trade journal. And the more obscure the subject, the more curious the animal. It takes a special kind of chutzpah to start such an enterprise—which usually sets out to offer in-depth coverage of something that mass-market publications overlook, but ends up reflecting the fascinations of the founder as much as the opinions of the experts. If the publication catches on, it becomes a central clearinghouse for a community that never had one and a power base for its head honcho. From Steven Brill at American Lawyer to Wayne Green at Digital Audio & Compact Disc Review, the cult of the founding editor’s personality can be an amazing thing to watch—a sort of Citizen Kane: The Next Generation. Perhaps the best known of this breed is John Fairchild, who, after inheriting Women’s Wear Daily, became the modern prototype of the powerful trade editor-publisher who brings a specialized world to the public.
In the last year or two, Hershel Shanks has become the John Fairchild of biblical archaeology. When “Nova” did a special on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Shanks got as much air time as any of the archaeologists, linguists and religion specialists. He writes opinion pieces on the subject for The Washington Post and the New York Times. And many of the recent newspaper and magazine stories about the scrolls have relied—in part or in toto—on Shanks’s lengthy diatribes in BAR or the impassioned letters to the editor they provoked.
Hershel Shanks does not have the look of a celebrity—not even the disheveled, weathered charm of an academic. He is tall, trim, balding and round-faced with wide, wire-rim bifocals and the fashion sense of a well-dressed computer nerd: nondescript plaid shirts and slacks, Wallabees and longish sideburns. And he is not exceptionally charismatic. But he is very bright—he has degrees from Haverford, Columbia and Harvard Law—and certainly has the courage of both his convictions and his obsessions. This son of a Sharon, Pa., shoe salesman is a certain kind of Renaissance man, the kind who finds inspiration in subjects as dry as real estate tax law. In a 1968 article for National Capital Area Realtor on some new exemption, for example, he waxed poetic about “the gentle gurgling of fresh mortgage money in the rivulets flowing from out-of-state banks.”
Perhaps Shanks is best defined by the profession he left. He is quick to point out that he was not a desk lawyer but a litigator, a courtroom dramatist. And while he did some commercial and real estate work, he was no specialist. “I billed myself as the last of the great generalists,” he says, “and, with BAR, I’ve always been the outsider.” He is also an appreciator of undersung heroes: In 1968, Shanks wrote a book about the decisions of appellate judge Learned Hand, who never made it to the Supreme Court but was, according to Shanks’s preface, “universally acclaimed as America’s greatest living judge” during the ’40s and ’50s.
Shanks never expected the kind of public attention he has received for his scrolls crusade. But his publication has always been known for a base-line level of controversy, and he has always been the publication’s resident gadfly. BAR came into existence after the editor of B’nai B’rith’s National Jewish Monthly turned down Shanks’s request to be its biblical archaeology columnist and suggested that the lawyer start his own publication. He did just that, and wrote all the articles in the first few issues himself. “I don’t know when we got authors,” he says, thumbing through old bound volumes in his home-office in Chevy Chase. “I think issue three or four had an author.” There were no scholars helping decide whether articles were acceptable for publication. “There’s no peer review at BAR,” Shanks says. “I’m the peer.” All of which might explain why the magazine was received with considerable skepticism in the archaeological community.
But it was more than Shanks’s editorial voice that gave BAR its curious edge. It was the built-in ideological conflict between the two primary groups interested in a popular magazine about biblical archaeology: evangelical Christians and back-to-Israel Jews. These two groups have, over the years, learned how to agree on quite a few things, but BAR covers the very things that they, by definition, will pretty much never agree on.
Hershel Shanks is very good at making biblical archaeology more exciting than it really is, and persuading the people who come into Hershel World to share his enthusiasm.
The potential energy of these two groups meeting in one publication is best exemplified by the ongoing BAR letters-column debate about year identification. Some readers are insulted because Shanks gives scholars the choice of using the nondenominational B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) or B.C. (Before Christ) with their dates. Most choose B.C.E. This has prompted letters from, among others, a B. Lee Pemberton of Sarasota, Fla., who wrote: “There is no possible way in which I am going to support with my money any organization or publication that cannot bring itself to acknowledge Almighty God and His son, Jesus Christ … Whoever is responsible for instituting this offensive and reprehensible ’neutral’ terminology in your magazine will stand before Christ in the judgment.”
But the date debate is just the tip of the iceberg. Any raging controversy between Christians and Jews, between Israelis and Arabs, between clergy and laity has a way of showing up in BAR. The squabbles aren’t so much about the main articles by archaeologists—which are, for the most part, earnest explanations of excavations with nice color photos and extensive footnotes. They’re about Shanks’s pieces (including the unsigned ones he sometimes writes, in which he often quotes himself) or the letters column. Or they’re about the ads, which can raise such ire—either because of the religious messages conveyed by the products or questions about how certain offered antiquities were obtained—that Shanks once had to write a story titled “Should You Patronize Our Advertisers?”
Shanks has learned to play the letters to the hilt: He often prints the kind of antisemitic or otherwise over-the-edge missives that many publications receive and simply throw away, and then waits for the deluge of mail in response. One running debate was prompted when a Rev. Bruce Perron wrote in complaining about a photo of an archaeological dig: One of the women working on the excavation was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, and the intimations of “lust among the ruins” offended him. When oil lamps depicting erotic scenes (including anal sex) were found at a dig at Ashkelon, Shanks—in a Barnumesque move disguised as “letting the readers decide”—put to a vote the question of whether pictures of the lamps should be published. The three small photos that he eventually ran took up only half a page in BAR and were very easy to miss; the vote announcement, the vote tally and the letters pro and con occupied at least five times as much space and were impossible to miss. The debate—and the fact that the lamp pictures were printed on a perforated page that offended readers could tear out—got coverage in several national media columns.
In short, Hershel Shanks is very good at making biblical archaeology more exciting than it really is, and persuading the people who come into Hershel World to share his enthusiasm. So it makes perfect sense that he would enthusiastically embrace the most truly exciting thing that’s ever happened in the field, taking every contentious whisper and pumping up the volume.
The Dead Sea Scrolls hardly needed another publicist. They have been making, or remaking, history since the first seven were discovered in a Jordanian cave by Bedouin shepherds in 1947 and brokered amid the tumult of Palestine’s last days. Three were sold to a Hebrew University archaeologist the day before the 1948 United Nations vote that created Israel. He was the first to understand just what the scrolls were, or might be: the oldest biblical writings ever recovered.
The other four were bought for $100 by the Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Jerusalem. He took his scrolls on a publicity tour of America, causing a sensation by unrolling one for the newsreel cameras in the Library of Congress and then trying to sell his cache for a million dollars. When that failed, he put an ad in the Wall Street Journal and ended up selling the scrolls in 1954 for $250,000 to a third party, who turned out to be Yigdal Yadin, the son of the archaeologist who had bought the other three. Yadin carried the scrolls back to Israel, where a museum, the Shrine of the Book, was built to house and display all seven.
All the while, Bedouins and archaeologists had been frantically exploring the caves of Qumran where the scrolls were found. By 1953, additional scrolls, or leathery fragments, had been found in 10 caves—Cave IV was the mother lode—and purchased by the Jordanian government. They were taken to the Palestine Museum (later renamed the Rockefeller Museum), where the intact texts could be translated and analyzed and the biblical fragments could be reconstructed using handwriting analysis and the Torah. The nonbiblical texts couldn’t be translated and interpreted until all the possible combinations of fragments had been considered. It was a task that one scholar later described to Linguafranca—the new wave academic journal—this way: “It’s as though a truck were delivering 550 jigsaw puzzles to your house, got hit head-on at an intersection, and some pieces went down the gutters.”
The scrolls are supposed to hold clues to understanding the births of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, and the lifetime of Christ. Besides their actual contents, there is the matter of figuring out who wrote them. The longest-standing prevailing theory—under attack today more than ever—is that the scrolls were written, or collected, by the Essenes, an elite Jewish sect, and hidden in the caves. While some scholars have seen what they believe to be the presaging of a messianic figure in the scrolls, others insist the texts shed no light whatsoever on Christianity, and are important mostly in the study of their subject, which, people tend to forget (if they knew in the first place) is Jewish law. But, of course, it’s mostly conjecture, the same loose pile of educated and uneducated guesses that is the foundation for so many “accepted” scientific notions.
The group chosen by the Jordanians to make these guesses about their scroll holdings didn’t exactly represent the broad spectrum of religious thought that might fairly be expected on a project with such potential impact on so many religions. The Rev. Roland De Vaux was put in charge in 1954, and the editing assignments were divvied up among the priest-scholars at the French Dominican archaeology institute he ran in East Jerusalem. Younger scholars—like John Strugnell, a Harvard professor of Christian origins and a convert to Catholicism—came to work under the priests. There were no Jews on the team.
Some scholars tore through their scrolls quickly and published during the first few years; their work and the materials they were analyzing were then made available to anyone who wanted to offer an opinion. The other scholars took their sweet time, and were additionally slowed when the funding for the project dried up in 1960 and they were forced to do the work on their university salaries.
The Six-Day War in 1967 caused the Rockefeller Museum to come under Israeli control. But the Israeli government did not unify the scrolls research, allowing the chosen scholars to maintain both their glacial pace and their monopoly by passing their work exclusively to their proteges. The patience of the non-chosen scholars began running out. On the 30th anniversary of the Qumran discovery, Geza Vermes, now head of the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, made the first public criticism of the process, writing that “unless drastic measures are taken at once, the greatest and most valuable of all Hebrew and Aramaic manuscript discoveries is likely to become the academic scandal par excellence of the 20th century.”
The delay in publication of the remaining scrolls became the hot topic at the 1984 biblical archaeology conference in Jerusalem and at a conference on the scrolls at New York University in 1985. That was the same year that John Strugnell was named chief editor of the scrolls. Strugnell finally added some Jewish scholars to the team, promised quicker publication and managed to get some new funding so the work didn’t have to be done on a shoestring budget: He was fond of pointing out that there was so little money for supplies that he had to keep his files in Maccabee beer crates.
It was around this time that BAR joined the fray, as the only publication consistently willing to let the voices of scroll discontent be heard.
“It‘s a nice magazine for Palestinian archaeology,” John Strugnell says of Biblical Archaeology Review, “but with a strong personal and slanderous content. It’s readable. At certain points you think it’s a magazine you read in dentists’ waiting rooms. But it’s more serious than that, and then there’s this perpetual propagandistic and personal interest… I only subscribed to it when I became editor in chief [of the scrolls]; I thought I’d better read it. At that time I met Shanks and I told him I’d be willing to keep him informed of developments if he would allow me to have a check of his material for accuracy. He declined this offer, which offended him.
“I never took his attacks seriously,” Strugnell says. “Shanks had no technical competence or knowledge in the field, so I tended to neglect him at first. The times I’ve discussed the scrolls with him, I’d have to translate.”
One scrolls breakthrough became emblematic of what “outsider” scholars were complaining about. In 1984, Strugnell gave a paper on a document he had pieced together—a listing of “rulings pertaining to the Torah,” referred to by its Hebrew initials, MMT. Strugnell said MMT was “one of the most important documents from Qumran,” its contents alone capable of forcing major reevaluations of several key assumptions about the writers of the scrolls. Scholars in several fields couldn’t wait to see it.
After several years passed and MMT still hadn’t been seen, Shanks began clamoring for it to be published immediately, without waiting for commentary. In his outrage, Shanks was speaking for those “outsider” scholars who couldn’t see MMT, but he also had his own agenda. Unlike many of the Dead Sea Scroll texts, which would be far too long to photograph for a mass market magazine, MMT is only 120 lines, and photographs of it would fit perfectly into BAR.
Strugnell’s position was (and is) that the pieced-together documents should be considered the intellectual property—and the private property—of the scholar who did the piecing, at least until he or she has had first crack at commentary. He refers to bootleg photocopies or unauthorized photographs of his and his colleagues’ work-in-progress as “piracy” and points out that some serious scholars have been allowed to see the scrolls before publication. (He has described those whose requests have been refused as “incompetent” or unknowns.)
During the next few years, scholarly discontent steadily rose. And so did Shanks’s interest in magazine editing and publishing. In 1984, he had started another bimonthly magazine called Bible Review (its circulation is now 40,000). In 1987, he purchased the struggling Jewish opinion magazine Moment from its founding editor, Leonard Fein—a highly regarded writer on Jewish topics whose throne Shanks acquired but whose position in the Jewish community he has yet to inherit.
When he began running Moment, Shanks realized he could no longer keep up his law practice and resigned his partnership. The second and third magazines also meant that Shanks’s days of running his operation from an office in his basement were numbered: His main employees, Sue Laden on the publishing side and Sue Singer on the editorial side, were also working out of their basements. (Shanks’s wife, Judy, is not involved with his magazines; she works at Time-Life Books.) They eventually moved the company to an office at 3000 Connecticut Ave. NW, but Shanks doesn’t have an office there. He still works out of his house; his brainstorms and new projects are detailed over lunch meetings with his main employees.
Shanks’s Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS), a nonprofit umbrella organization, has published several books and has a parallel history of Christianity and rabbinic Judaism coming out this summer; it also markets a successful biblical archaeology slide set to schools, video tours of Jerusalem (hosted by Shanks), a board game called Exodus, seminars in the United States and Israel and aboard cruise ships, and replicas of archaeological artifacts. BAS helps preserve some archaeological sites and helps assure that Moment, which is highly unprofitable, stays afloat.
In 1988, The Israel Antiquities Authority tried to set publication deadlines for the remaining scroll material. Shanks called the timetable “a hoax and a fraud”—a word-bite that would permanently inject his name into the once-scholarly debate. By the summer of 1989, news stories about the Dead Sea Scrolls controversy started showing up in the usually well-hidden religion columns of several major publications, culminating with an August story in Time. Then Shanks appeared on a Princeton panel with Strugnell, asking the scholar for a copy of MMT and then publicly demanding that he resign as chief scrolls editor.
Now it was personal. And it got more personal when Strugnell made a comment on TV about a “bunch of fleas” who were in the business of bothering him. Shanks put a picture of Strugnell on the cover of the March-April 1990 BAR with “fleas” (identified, as in old-fashioned political cartoons, as BAR and several different scholars) flitting around him. Suddenly, the unfathomably complicated Dead Sea Scrolls issue had been boiled down to a kind of Rocky-like drama: Shanks versus Strugnell, the common man versus the elitist, the Jew versus the Christian, the journalist versus the establishment, going 15 rounds over the very future of scholarly freedom. Shanks announced that he had arranged for the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation to donate $100,000 to publish the remaining scrolls. The offer was, in his words, “spurned.”
Since then, Shanks has been portrayed as a one-man liberation front for the scrolls. Because many journalists covering the scrolls controversy don’t know much more about it than what they’ve read in BAR, they tend to overlook whatever axes he may have to grind. His position as editor of a Jewish opinion magazine is almost never mentioned, and he takes great pains to downplay his religious beliefs or affiliations. (He’s a conservative Jew who belongs to Congregation Adas Israel.) He is journalist, source, spokesmodel and Dead Sea Scrolls merchandise vendor. His cause is not necessarily unjust; he’s just a curious champion. And he might not have been successful if Strugnell hadn’t opened up to an Israeli journalist in the fall of 1990—and opened a can of worms.
In the interview—which appeared in Hebrew in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz and was reprinted in English by BAR—Strugnell offhandedly said he was “anti-Judaist” and called Judaism “a horrible religion.” He explained that “Judaism … [is] not a higher religion. An anti-Judaist, that’s what I am. There, I plead guilty. I plead guilty in the way the Church has pleaded guilty all along, because we’re not guilty, we’re right. Christianity presents itself as a religion which replaced the Jewish religion. The correct answer of Jews to Christianity is to become Christian.”
Strugnell denied that his feelings about Judaism affected his scholarship: “I don’t, when I’m working on a Qumran text, think how stupid and wrong the Jews were. I’m concerned with finding out what the document is saying in its context.” The interviewer noted that Strugnell’s office was overflowing with beer crates, and wondered if he had a drinking problem.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls are now public property of all; any scholar can now study them. But it’s like with any journalist, you have to be on the inside and the outside and maintain a distance.”
Strugnell denies that he ever had a drinking problem. He says that at the time of the interview he was having a major bout of manic-depression—for which he was later hospitalized (and not for the first time). And he was shocked when he was removed as chief editor and replaced by Hebrew University professor Emmanuel Tov. But he does not exactly retract his statements. “I don’t deny many of the opinions, although I certainly regret some of the expressions of them,” he said in a recent telephone interview from Harvard, where he continues his scrolls work and is also preparing an article about the interview and his dismissal. “I consider my views of Judaism are the views of historical Christianity, nothing to write home about. It is inconceivable that these views would affect in one way or the other my interpretation of Jewish documents that didn’t touch Christianity.
“I don’t think that’s antisemitic, but [you] may well. It’s anti-Judaic, it’s against the religion of Judaism. Paul is, John is, go through the New Testament. One or two people try to modify this position nowadays, but that’s just a twitch in modern Christian dogmatics. I was more concerned with the majority position of Christianity through the centuries.”
With Strugnell out of the picture, Shanks found that he still couldn’t get the scrolls. But he did generate a ton of publicity for himself and his cause. Then, last fall, the bombshells began.
First, a professor of Talmudic studies in Cincinnati announced that he was desktop publishing a version of the scroll texts he had pieced together. Two weeks later, the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., announced that it was about to make public its complete set of photographic negatives of the scrolls, even though it was unclear whether the library even owned the negatives. The Israeli government objected to the action, but library director William Moffett went ahead anyway, announcing, “When you free the scrolls, you free the scholars.”
In late October, bowing to public pressure, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced it would permit free access to its own documents. In early November, professor Robert Eisenman of Cal State Long Beach—who has worked closely with Shanks and was previously refused access to scroll material (perhaps because he developed the largely unaccepted theory that the scrolls belonged to a sect that supposedly followed Jesus’s alleged brother James)—announced he had made the first breakthrough since the liberation of the scrolls. He claimed to have discovered a text mentioning the execution of a messianic leader.
In mid-November, Shanks met with Random House editor Jason Epstein about a book project. Epstein had no interest in the book Shanks wanted to do, but he was interested in BAR’s scroll coverage. In the ’50s, Epstein had done a popular collection of writings about the scrolls with scholar Theodor Gaster, whose first English translation of some of the scrolls had been a publishing phenomenon. Epstein commissioned Shanks to quickly produce an anthology of his BAR articles about the scrolls, to be rushed out while public interest was high.
Then, on November 19, Shanks stunned the biblical archaeology community by publishing a two-volume edition of 1,787 photographs of the unpublished scrolls, which he had been receiving from an anonymous source over the previous two years. The publication was funded by philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, who said he helped because the scrolls “established in my mind the Jewish claim to the West Bank. It provides proof that we were there first and reinforces our legitimate right to Judea.” (Several weeks after the book was published, the District Court of Jerusalem issued an injunction to stop BAR from selling it. The complaint wasn’t based on the photos but on Shanks’s foreword, which includes a copy of a transcription of MMT, to which an Israeli professor claims to own the copyright. Shanks immediately solicited donations for a legal defense fund, and the Israelis countered by arranging with the Dutch company E.J. Brill to release a 5,121-photograph microfiche edition. While the court fight continues over the first edition of Shanks’s book, he has published a second edition with a new introduction—which he says was written to herald the “new era of cooperation in Dead Sea Scrolls research” and not just to eliminate the pesky MMT transcription.)
Hershel Shanks was permitted exactly one week of elation over his triumphs. The day after Thanksgiving, he was engaging in one of his non-archaeological hobbies—playing the piano—when he was struck with what was first believed to be an aneurysm in his brain. Or, as he later wrote in an open letter to BAR readers, “I felt the wings of mortality brush past my face.” The problem was later diagnosed as a nonaneurysmal intracranial hemorrhage—scary, but treatable and not immediately life-threatening.
Although he has been told he will, or can, be fine, Shanks was weakened considerably by the experience and, for the first time, passed on some of his editing and writing responsibilities to his magazine staffs. Ironically, his situation is now similar to that of John Strugnell. Both are recovering from health-related traumas and trying to get back to their life’s work. And both are assessing the effects the BAR brawl has had on their professional and personal lives.
Strugnell, who is contemplating a lawsuit against Shanks, says the effect on his reputation has been “very grave … It’s not my scholarly work that I’m worried about, but my scholarly reputation, which is something rather precious.” Strugnell also believes that the premature publication of the scrolls virtually assures that the project in its entirety will never be completed. “It’s not difficult to get publications of varying quality on large fragments,” explains Strugnell. “What’s difficult is to get together a group of people who will take care of the less attractive material. We had a carrot and stick approach; a certain number of people agreed to concentrate their efforts over a certain number of years. The carrot and the stick are gone.”
While Shanks is a hero to some scholars and lay people, he is a pariah among some of the people with whom he has been swapping biblical archaeology gossip for 20 years. “It’s not without its pain,” he explains. “There are scholars who I like who won’t speak to me.” At the last annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Notre Dame professor Eugene Ulrich, one of Strugnell’s colleagues in the Cave IV work, refused to shake Shanks’s hand. And the professional meetings that once embraced him may not be as friendly again. Last April, he was invited to a conference in Madrid. The week before the conference, after purchasing a nonrefundable plane ticket, Shanks got another letter disinviting him—on the grounds of “freedom of speech,” he recalls, “so the scholars could speak freely.”
“It hasn’t all been fun,” Shanks sighs. “Naturally, there is the satisfaction that comes from prevailing. The Dead Sea Scrolls are now public property of all; any scholar can now study them. But it’s like with any journalist, you have to be on the inside and the outside and maintain a distance. You can’t be co-opted into what you’re writing about, even when you’re depending on the goodwill and friendship of these scholars.”
Still, he points out hopefully, “Everybody still writes for me. Many of the leading scholars are friends of mine.”
[Photo Credit: Israel Museum c/o Wikimedia Commons]