The following is an excerpt from an editorial entitled “The Vanity of Scholars” in the New York Times on July 9, 1989:

“Some works of scholarship, like the compilation of dictionaries, legitimately take a lifetime. But with others, the reasons for delay can be less lofty: greed for glory, pride, or just plain old sloth.

“Consider the sorry saga of the Dead Sea Scrolls, documents that might cast spectacular new light on the early history of Christianity and the doctrinal evolution of Judaism.

“The scrolls were discovered in 1947, but many that are in fragments remain unpublished. More than 40 years later, a coterie of dawdling scholars is still spinning out the work while the world waits and the precious pieces lapse into dust.

“Naturally, they refuse to let others see the material until it is safely published under their names. The publication schedule of J. T. Milik, a Frenchman responsible for more than 50 documents, is a source of particular frustration to other scholars.

“Archaeology is particularly vulnerable to scholars who gain control of materials and then refuse to publish them.”