Join us on this improbable journey... of the long-missing fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Herein, amid a skeleton history of the Dead Sea Scrolls, arguably the most significant archaeological find of all time, lies the improbable account of how long-missing fragments of the ancient scrolls came to reside at the seminary on the hill in Fort Worth, Texas.
A multifaceted story unfolding over 65 years, it is one of an unlikely middleman who became the one man indispensable in the recovery of the ancient scrolls. The story follows the even more unlikely path of a preacher and seminary president and his wife as the scrolls unexpectedly came into their circle.
The story also is one of two families, of small business that turned to friendship, and of friendship that opened doors to acquisitions never considered.
Then, intertwined with consideration of the scrolls' historic yet transcendent significance, lay the prospect of the moving, ethereal hand of God, unbound by time, whose ways and thoughts are not as ours and whose movements have always abided in the unlikely and thrived within the improbable.
Long-missing fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls on exhibit at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Beginning July 2
300,00 to 500,000 visitors expected!
Armour spent much of his life in the Middle East. Afoot, in the saddle, aboard felucca, boat and ship, and driving roads both crowded and known and remote and unmarked, he traversed the cities, ruins, deserts, hills, mountains, and waters of the lands of the Bible where, at times, he resided and worked on archaeological digs.
He is a freelance writer and itinerant preacher and lives in the Mojave Desert of northwest Arizona with his wife, Rachel.
In some ways, his being born an outdoorsman and finding instant affinity with the children of the desert and with wildlife wherever he encountered it in the world was obvious from the beginning. In fact, “wildlife” might be the operative term. So much did Armour’s young soul loathe the city and long for the adventure to be found, even in the waste places of the earth, that we sometimes wondered how he was progressing in the acquisition of the knowledge needed later to navigate in an adult world.
As a result, Armour was with us when we first met Mr. Kando and on numerous occasions thereafter. We met with the leaders of the Jewish nation of Israel, including the Prime Minister. He came to know leaders like Yaser Arafat among the Palestinians and worked on archaeological digs at Halutza and Yokneam. Upon the completion of his degree with a major in history at the University of Texas at Dallas, including a stint at the University of Oklahoma, Dorothy and I realized that Armour had learned a great deal more than we realized. His love of the desert eventually played itself out in his present residence in the Arizona high desert. His love for animals and adventure has not waned, but would he remember those early days in the Middle East, beginning when he was not more than seven years of age and extending through his teenage years? His mother and I asked him if he would record the development of the friendship of our family with the Kando family in Bethlehem, based essentially on his memory of those events that began with the introduction to Mr. Kando in his shop in Jerusalem and extended all the way through the securing of the present fragments now exhibited here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
As Armour’s fecund mind began to relive all those experiences, this volume emerged and to the best of my own memory represents a rather vivid reconstruction of many of those events. Scholars reading the brief document may well take issue with a “fact” here and there, especially the research representing necessary background that he has acquired from his own reading since he was not an eyewitness to the recent details of the acquisition. But the facts as I personally know them are sufficiently accurate to provide a background to tell the story, never recorded in print, of our own family’s involvement with Mr. Kando, the Bedouin, our Palestinian brother David Amad of Amman, Jordan, and a host of other colorful characters to whose lives we have fortunately been exposed. Consequently, Dorothy and I wish to express to Armour our deepest appreciation for taking the time to pull this book together on a very short timeline in order that those who wish to know the story could have it with them as they walk through the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Armour writes as a novelist, though certainly not unaware of scholarly procedure and approach. He has chosen the historical novel as his own personal genre because he believes that a vivid picture is often of more value in communication than a very precise work laden with scholarly apparatus. Our prayer is that this book tells our story and becomes then a blessing to you, an encouragement to make as many friends in life as you possibly can. Armour’s friendships span the globe, though he lives in the isolation of the Arizona desert. May we all be so fortunate.
Paige Patterson, President
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas