Writer relying on discredited authors

First Posted: 1/20/2015

This letter is in response Ron Weiss’ recent letter, “Former Catholic doesn’t hate,” (Lima News, Jan. 5), and an earlier letter on the same general topic (Lima News, Nov. 22). In both letters, reference is made to the book by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception.”

John J. Collins is a professor of Old Testament criticism and interpretation at Yale University, and has written extensively on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

He states: “The area of scholarship that has suffered most from wild speculation is the relevance of the scrolls for Christian origins. … These claims were swiftly discredited, but revived in the 1990s by the British authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh in the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls Deception’ who claimed that the truth had been suppressed by a Vatican conspiracy. These claims have no basis.”

In fact, a well-known Catholic priest and Scripture scholar, Ronald de Vaux, was a leader of an editorial team of scholars that worked on a translation of the scrolls, making them available to the public.

Ron Weiss gives as the etymology of the word church the name of a Greek goddess/sorceress, Circe. She is known particularly for having given Odysseus and his companions a bad time. Those who propose this etymology usually do so in order to denigrate the word church as used by Christians. Most scholarly dictionaries, with no religious agenda, give the Greek word, kuriakon, house of the lord, as the etymology for the word church.

Perhaps we all need to listen to the Dalai Lama who said: “While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.”

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