Religion: A New Genesis

When scholars got a look at a small fragment of the seventh and last of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Jordan in 1947, they discovered the name of Lamech, the father of Noah. They concluded that the seventh scroll was an apocryphal Book of Lamech. There the matter stood, for the seventh scroll seemed too brittle to be unrolled.

In 1954 Israel bought the seventh scroll (and three others) from Jerusalem's Syrian Metropolitan Mar Athanasius Samuel, and experts at Hebrew University tackled the problem of unrolling it. Slowly softened by humid air, the leather scroll finally opened. Its center yielded four...

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