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Dead Sea Scroll Traced to Jew Who Committed Suicide 70 Years Ago

August 14, 1956
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A Jerusalem Jew who committed suicide more than 70 years ago because he was accused of forging an ancient manuscript akin to the famed Dead Sea Scrolls, may have had an authentic scroll, it was stated here yesterday by Prof. Menahem Mansoor, chairman of the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Prof. Mansoor, who has been touring Europe recording opinions about the Dead Sea Scrolls, revealed that M.W. Shapira, A Jerusalem antique dealer of Polish Jewish ancestry, obtained embalmed leather strips on which was written what Mr. Shapira believed to be a “short unorthodoxical book of the last speech of Moses in the Plains of Moab.”

The fragment was offered for sale to the British Museum, but scholars who inspected it thought it a forgery. Mr. Shapira’s appeals to the British Museum to have other scholars study it were rejected and shortly thereafter, he killed himself.

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