More than five decades after archaeologists discovered the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls in caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea, nearly all the texts, dating between 250 b.c. and a.d. 70, have been published…. They also contain prayer texts, biblical interpretations, poetical fragments, wisdom compositions, and various sectarian documents. — Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2001

Nov. 20 (EW Newswire): in a surprising turn in the ongoing story of the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical scholars have announced the discovery of a heretofore unknown scroll that apparently alludes to the current rock band Creed.

When the scroll was first unearthed last month, archaeologists were vexed by its contents. But the last pieces of the excavation puzzle fell into place when the document’s title was revealed as ”The Stapp Scroll,” which experts now believe is a clear reference to Creed’s swaggering and exceedingly self-important singer, Scott Stapp. ”We’re not sure how these ancient men of letters knew, 2,000 years ago, about this band and their new album, Weathered, but some things you don’t question,” said spokesman A.C. Schmelmark.

Whereas the famed Dead Sea Scrolls laid out laws for mankind (”No man shall argue or quarrel with the men of perdition”; ”He shall perform the will [of God] in all his deeds and in all strength as He has commanded”), the Stapp Scroll brings to light rules for crafting successful rock with a born-again bent. At a press conference, Schmelmark cited examples:

”No man shall preach too forcefully in song at the risk of turning off his fellow man”: Schmelmark says this is a reference to both the group’s undercover Christian leanings and the Weathered track ”Signs,” in which Stapp bluntly admonishes, ”Time served on the earth doesn’t mean you grow in mind…Spiritual insinuations seem to shock our nation.” In the same song, the scolding line ”We all know sex sells and the whole world is buying” is cited as the truth, but in this regard, the scroll proffers, ”No man shall sing lines such as these while conspiring with purveyors of cultural carnality like MTV.” Scholars also speculate that the original scrollsmiths feared that Stapp’s references to a ”holy war” (”Freedom Fighter”) and to a ”wicked” way of life (”Don’t Stop Dancing”) would work against converting newcomers.

”No man shall sound as all-knowing as the Lord — look what happened to Jim Morrison”: Here the scroll cites ”Who’s Got My Back?” (”See the signs/The covenant has been broken by mankind”). Although the scroll admits it is ”not uncommon” to encounter musicians who sing of being burdened and who employ apocalyptic imagery in so doing, few are as leaden as Stapp. Archaeologists also speculate the scroll’s authors disliked the song’s eight plodding minutes, which they claimed subvert the uplifting potential of the lyrics, as much of ”Weathered” does.

”No band shall capitalize on the decline of grunge by offering up holy-watered-down imitations, albeit with a harder mosh-pit groove”: A tenet that, it appears, applies to ”Weathered” — particularly to guitarist Mark Tremonti’s hellishly heavy-handed power chords and Stapp’s clenched-throat delivery, which scholars say ”borroweth liberally” from Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell.

”No man shall create a love song so grumpy”: Here, the ancient document points to ”My Sacrifice,” which, despite an anthemic chorus, is weighed down by its surly lyrics. However, the scroll does credit Creed with having reinvented the power ballad, thus foretelling the softer sides of Staind and their ilk.

”No man or musician shall create album art in which he and his colleagues are shown hovering over holy grounds resembling the Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat”: Scholars insist that this reference is self-explanatory with regard to ”Weathered.”

”Judging by the Stapp Scroll, our professional opinion is that the authors saw ”Weathered” coming and were warning us of man’s need for shameful self-glorification,” said Schmelmark. ”Besides, we have it on good authority that the Almighty One is more of a dc Talk fan.”

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