Saturday, November 10, 2007

SOMEONE NAMED GABRIEL KHANO, writing an autobiographical piece in, claims in a brief aside to have been involved in the early events surrounding the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He's currently a tour operator in Jerusalem.
My family and I were driven out of Jerusalem and went first to Madaba, a village in Jordan where almost every house has a patterned mosaic. We had relatives there. Then we moved back to Palestine - to Bethlehem - and settled because there were a good number of Syrianis there who, like my parents, had been in a forced migration from Turkey years before.

One of these was Kando the Shoemaker, whose shop was next-door to our house; it was there, in 1946, that he received what became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. When we arrived in Bethlehem, my Bishop and I tried to get recognition for these scrolls, some of which were in Syriac, which I speak and read; but they were not recognized until a young American scholar met the Bishop by chance in New York and took them to be tested using carbon 14. I had no work at the time, but my dreams of making money from the Scrolls came to nothing.
Presumably the reference to "Syriac" scrolls has something to do with the Aramaic Genesis Apocryphon from Cave One. The "Bishop" would have been Metropolitan Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel. I've not heard of Gabriel Khano before this. But there's another account of the events he describes, with additionals details, here, picked up by someone named Wong Chun Wai during a tour of Jerusalem:
In Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born, the Khanos lived next door to Khalil Iskander Shahin. Khalil became famous and rich after he bought the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest and largest collection of Bible manuscripts.

Gabriel might have been in a similar situation but he was not so lucky. He too went to search for the scrolls in one of the caves but gave up after seeing thousands of bats. He also could not stand the stench of guano. Unfortunately for him, a search party later found more scrolls in the cave that he had turned his back on.
Also, a book by Mr. Khano's wife is reviewed here. Does anyone know or know of him?

For a brief but accurate account of the discovery and early history of the Scrolls, see here.