Saturday, May 25, 2013

Parts of Dead Sea Scrolls up for sale

Here's a story that can tug you two ways ... the family that found the Dead Sea Scrolls is now selling small fragments that they still had in a safe deposit box in Switzerland.

On the one hand, when you find something, you normally get to keep and sell it as you want. On the other the Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient relics. Many governments lay claim to any such relics and then pay the finder for them. The questions are, of course, who determines how much to pay and should such relics be allowed to leave the country -- or even stay in a private owner's hands?

The family that found the scrolls is Palestinian. The Israeli government considers the scrolls a national treasure. Further complicating this situation, Jordanian and Palestinian governments have also laid claim to the scrolls.

The owner says his family offered to sell them to the government but that they could not afford them. Should finders of ancient relics be allowed to put a financial "squeeze" on a country for its national treasures?

1 comment:

bthomas said...

Finders keepers! Period! If the government wants the item, let them pay the market price. If they can't pay, let them find someone who will help. If the Israeli government genuinely considers these fragments a national treasure, they shouldn't have any problem justifying paying an appropriate price for. If the Jordanians or Palestinians want the fragment, they have the same options as the Israelis.