Dead Sea Scrolls
are a collection of about 850
documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, which
were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves
near Qumran, a fortress northwest of the Dead
Sea in Israel
(in historical times part of Judea).
They were written in Hebrew, Aramaic,
, sometime between the 2nd century BC and
the 1st century AD. The texts are important as being practically
the only Jewish Biblical documents
that period, and because of what they can tell about the
political and religious context.
Importance of Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls contains a vast collection of Jewish documents written in Hebrew, Aramaic,
and Greek, and encompassing many subjects and literary styles.This is significant for archaeology. They include
manuscripts or fragments of every book in the Hebrew Bible except the Book of Esther, all of them
formed nearly one thousand years earlier than any previously known biblical manuscripts. The
scrolls also contain the earliest existing biblical observations, on the Book of Habakkuk, and many
other writings, among them religious works pertaining to Jewish sects of the time.
- A copy or portion of nearly every Old Testament book was found in Qumran.
- There were extra-biblical and apocryphal books found as well, but again, the vast bulk of
the scrolls were copies of the Hebrew Old Testament.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls were such a remarkable discovery of (archaeology) in that the
scrolls were in excellent condition and had remained hidden for so long (over 2000 years).
- The Dead Sea Scrolls can also give us assurance in the consistency of the Old Testament
manuscripts since there were minimal differences between the manuscripts that had previously
been discovered and those that were found in Qumran.
- Clearly this is a testament to the way God has preserved His Word down through the
centuries, protecting it from extinction and guarding it against major error.
Groups of Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls
are usually divided into three groups namely:
"Biblical" Manuscripts (copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible), which comprise roughly 40% of
the recognized scrolls
Apocryphal"or "Pseudepigraphical" documents (known papers from the Second
Temple Period like Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, Sirach, non-canonical psalms, etc., that were not
eventually canonized in the Hebrew Bible), which contains approximately 30% of the traditional
"Sectarian" documents (previously unknown documents that speak to the rules and idea of a particular group or groups within greater Judaism) like the Community Rule,
War Scroll, Pesher (Hebrew pesher = "Commentary") on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the
Blessing, which encompass approximately 30% of the recognized scrolls.
The resolution of Qumran is 1 km inland from the northwest shore of the Dead
Sea. The scrolls were found in eleven caves nearby, between 125m (Cave 4) and 1 km (Cave 1) away.
None were found within the decision, unless it initially encompassed the caves. In the winter of
1946-47, Palestinian Muhammed edh-Dhib and his cousin discovered the caves, and soon afterwards
John C. Trever rebuilds the story of the scrolls from several interviews with
the Bedouin. edh-Dhib's cousin noticed the caves, but edh-Dhib himself was the first to really
fall into one. He recovered a handful of scrolls, which Trever recognized as the Isaiah Scroll,
Habakkuk Commentary, and the Community Rule (originally known as "Manual of Discipline"), and took
them back to the camp to show to his family. None of the scrolls were destroyed in this process,
despite popular story. The Bedouin kept the scrolls hanging on a tent pole while they figured out
what to do with them, periodically taking them out to show people. At some point during this time,
the Community Rule was split in two.
As soon as the declaration of the scrolls' discovery was made, the academic debates about their
origin and importance began. The debates increased when the amazing contents of the scrolls were
consecutively exposed. The seven original scrolls, from what came to be called "Cave One"
comprised the following:
- A well-preserved copy of the entire prediction of Isaiah-the oldest copy of an Old
Testament book ever to be discovered.
- A aother fragmentary scroll of Isaiah
- A observations on the first two chapters of Habakkuk-the commentator explained the book
allegorically interims of the Qumran brotherhood
- The "Manual of Discipline" or "Community Rule"-the most important source of
information about the religious sect at Qumran-it described the requirements for those hopeful to
join the brotherhood
- The "Thanksgiving Hymns," a collection of devotional "psalms" of thanksgiving and praise to God
- An Aramaic summarize of the Book of Genesis
- The "Rule of War" which compact with the battle between the "Sons of Light (the
men of Qumran) and the “Sons of Darkness” (the Romans?) yet to take place in the
“last days,” which days the men of Qumran invented were about to arrive.
Study Of The Caves
The caves surrounding Qumran
are numbered based upon the order of their finding
and their production of scrolls and scroll fragments. Thus, caves 7-9 and 4 are very close to the decision
at Qumran, while caves 1, 3, and 11 are farther away. Similarly, there are hundreds of other caves
surrounding Qumran discovered both before and after the 11 scroll caves that did not create scrolls and are
therefore not numbered as scroll caves. Below is a summary of each of the Qumran Caves
Cave 1 was discovered in the winter or spring of 1947. It was first excavate by Gerald
Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux from Feb 15 to Mar 5, 1949. In addition to the unique seven scrolls,
Cave 1 formed jars and bowls, whose chemical composition and shape matched vessels discovered at the
settlement at Qumran, pieces of cloth, and added fragments that matched portions of the original scrolls,
thereby proving that the original scrolls came from Cave 1.
Cave two was found in February, 1952. It yielded 300 fragments from 33 manuscripts, including Jubilees
and the Book of Sirach in the original Hebrew.
Cave three was founded on March 14, 1952. The cave surrendered 14 manuscripts including
Jubilees and the curious Copper Scroll, which lists 67 hiding places, mostly underground, throughout the
ancient Roman region of Judea (now Israel and Palestine). According to the scroll, the secret caches held
astonishing amounts of gold, silver, copper, aromatics, and manuscripts.
Cave four was discovered in August, 1952, and was excavated from September 22 to 29,
1952 by Gerald Lankester Harding, Roland de Vaux, and Józef Milik. Cave four is really two, hand-cut
caves (4a and 4b), but since the fragments were mixed, they are labeled as 4Q. Cave 4 is the more
well-known of Qumran caves both because of its visibility from the Qumran plateau and its
productivity. It is visible from the plateau to the south of the Qumran settlement. It is by far the
most creative of all Qumran caves, producing ninety percent of the Dead Sea Scrolls and scroll
fragments (approx. 15,000 fragments from 500 different texts), including 9-10 copies of Jubilees,
along with 21 tefillin and 7 mezuzot.
Caves 5 and 6
Caves 5 and 6 were exposed in 1952, shortly after Cave 4. Cave 5 produced around 25 manuscripts,
while Cave 6 contained fragments of about 31 manuscripts.
Caves 7-9 are unique in that they are the only caves that are available only by
passing through the settlement at Qumran. Carved into the southern end of the Qumran plateau,
archaeologists excavated caves 7-9 in 1957, but did not find many fragments maybe due to high levels of
erosion that left only the shallow bottoms of the caves.
Cave 8 formed five fragments: Genesis (8QGen), Psalms (8QPs), a tefillin fragment
(8QPhyl), a mezuzah (8QMez), and a hymn (8QHymn). Cave 8 also formed several tefillin cases, a box of
leather objects, lamps, jars, and the sole of a leather shoe.
Cave 9 produced only small, unidentifiable fragments.9 also submitted several date pits similar to
those discovered by Magen and Peleg to the west of Locus 75 during their "Operation Scroll"
Cave 10 formed only a single ostracon with some writing on it.
The Archaeologists Working In This Project
Books Related to Dead Sea Scrolls
Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes. published by
A record and commentary on the famous Qumran scrolls, discovered in 1947 and carefully edited and
reconstructed over the succeeding 50 years by many of the most renowned scholars in the world.
Dead Sea Scrolls Bible The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First written by
Timeby Martin G. Abegg, and Peter Flint published by HarperCollins Publishers.
The DEAD SEA SCROLLS BIBLE particularly displays the contents of these ancient documents, informative and
commenting on the stories that were written during Jesus' time and on the problems that emerge from their
differences with current versions of the Bible.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition written by Florentino Garcia Martinez, and
This indispensable two-volume compendium of the Dead Sea Scrolls, copublished by Eerdmans and Brill,
contains newly edited English translations and synopsis of all the biblical and nonbiblical scrolls found
at Qumran. Intended as a practical orientation tool to facilitate fruitful study of the Scrolls, these
volumes, compiled by expert Dead Sea Scroll researchers, will be an essential addition to the library of
anyone interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls -- from serious scholars to general readers seeking reliable
translations of these important ancient texts.
Rich Resources on Dead Sea Scrolls
Facsimile Editions - Dead Sea Scrolls
of the Discovery and Debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls
- Tilte:Facsimile Editions - Dead Sea Scrolls
Found inadvertently in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls are regarded by many as the most significant
archaeological find of the twentieth century.
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Why They Matter
- Tilte:Dead Sea Scrolls
- Description:Unless drastic measures are taken at once,
the greatest and most valuable of all Hebrew and Aramaic manuscript discoveries
is likely to become the academic scandal par excellence of the twentieth century
- Title:Dead Sea Scrolls | Explore The Dead Sea Scrolls & Why They Matter | Biblical Archaeology
- Description:The dead sea scrolls are an important piece of history. Explore why the Dead Sea
Scrolls matter with Biblical Archaeology Review.
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Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 850 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, which were discovered in eleven caves near Qumran, in a fortress northwest of the Dead Sea in Israel.
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