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John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls
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John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls


Eerdmans 2005

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


This book is the first to fully explore the life and ideas of John Marco Allegro (1923–1988), freethinker and rebel, whose work on the Dead Sea Scrolls led him to challenge the church, the team of scholars in charge of editing the Scrolls, and most conventional assumptions about the development of Christianity. As the first British member of the Scrolls editing team, Allegro shared the excitement, the insights, and the eyestrain of deciphering these invaluable ancient fragments.

He made it possible for the Copper Scroll, a mysterious listing of treasure, to be opened in Manchester and did much to focus worldwide attention on the Scrolls as a whole. But he made his name—or gained his notoriety—by questioning orthodox assumptions about the Christian church’s origins and authority. Allegro went on challenging the establishment all his life, and he relished the arguments he provoked. For over thirty years he campaigned for open access to the Scrolls and for wider debate about their significance.

To him it was a campaign for free speech and free opinion. Judith Anne Brown’s John Marco Allegro is a fascinating, probing, inside account of this irrepressibly original man. Making extensive use of Allegro’s letters, lecture notes, draft manuscripts, and other previously unpublished writings, Brown brings to life afresh the extraordinary discoveries and debates that began in the caves by the Dead Sea over half a century ago.

Praise for the Print Edition

Allegro lived a fascinating life, and readers will benefit from having Brown's book available. She has provided us an important window into the early life of the field of Dead Sea Scroll studies.

—Jason Kalman, The Review of Biblical Literature

Product Details

  • Title: John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Author: Judith Anne Brown
  • Series: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature
  • Publisher: W. B. Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 304

About the Judith Anne Brown

Judith Anne Brown s the daughter of John Marco Allegro, a freelance writer and editor, and an associate of the Plain Language Commission. Her work on John Marco Allegro also appears in Manchester and the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by George J. Brooke. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband and two children.