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SCHOLAR LINKS SCROLL, SAMSON

A scholar said Wednesday that a portion of a letter from the biblical strongman Samson, possibly a love note to the temptress Delilah, had been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

John Strugnell, head of a 22-member team of scholars with exclusive access to most of the unpublished scrolls, said he recently stumbled on a fragment containing nine words and three lines of the letter.

"It has to be a copy of a letter sent by Samson, . . . (but was it) to Delilah? Unfortunately, we don't know," he said, adding he had deciphered little about what Samson wrote at this point but would publish more details soon.

Strugnell said the first few words of the letter, what he called the "address," clearly showed it came from Samson. He suggested that it may be a love letter because it fit into the context of "erotic and sapient literature" that developed in the early Jewish period.

No other information was made available about the letter.

Samson, whose story is told in the Book of Judges, was known for feats of strength. But he was stopped by Delilah, who was sent by the Philistines. She seduced him, learned that the secret to his strength was his hair and cut it off while he was sleeping.

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