Chapter 2 opens by revisiting Paul's feud with James and Peter, which Eisenman previously argued in James the Brother of Jesus went far beyond subtle rhetorical jabs made in their respective epistles. Eisenman admits that the primary evidence for a direct physical assault on James by Paul at Jerusalem comes from the "romantic history" known as the Pseudoclementine book Recognitions, but insists that this source more accurately portrays the relationship of Paul with James and Peter than the flagrantly propagandist Book of Acts.
Eisenman, seemingly out of character, does not belabor the point, but moves promptly into an autobiographical account of his own personal struggle with legalists. The rest of the chapter takes on a distinctively Pauline tone as he reminisces about the perilous fight to free the Dead Sea Scrolls from those who had ensnared them. It is a journey replete with extemporaneous action, inappropriate scourgings from academics, and near-fatal financial shipwreck. Although now vindicated and standing upright, Eisenman is nevertheless compelled to act a fool on behalf of those who might forget the sacrifices made for them and so easily be led astray. The faithful are assured that it is enough for them to abstain from blood-libel accusations and partaking in the fornication of palaeography and carbon dating "experts" who want to deny the liberties that his Gospel allows.
In essence, Eisenman makes this a contest between his "internal" literary evaluation of the DSS (and related texts) and the "external" psuedo-scientific analysis of parchments and handwriting by others. It is akin to the battle of Paul's faith and circumcision of the heart verses James and Peter with their dead works and circumcision of the flesh. Is it a war that Eisenman can win, and at what price?
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.