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This is for you:

In this Material World : Have you ever heard about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls?

This is a 4 part history of the Dead Sea Scrolls from finding them, and even uncovering more. At the end will be the conclusion. Hope that it helps you understand what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and what they are about.

Post 3 - is Part 2
Post 4 - is Part 3
Post 7 - is Part 4 the final conclusion.

This information has came from a bible known as the Thompson Chain Study Bible (NKJV)- From 1997. Archaeological Supplement ~ DEAD SEA SCROLLS ~ 4362 (Thompson Chain Reference number)

~ ~ ~ Dead Sea Scrolls is the name given to a collection of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts found in a number of caves in the barren foothills of the Judean wilderness, west of the Dead Sea. These documents represent one of the most sensational archaeological discoveries of our age. More than one-third of these documents are book of the Old Testament, which are older by at least one thousand years than the hitherto earliest known Old Testament manuscripts.

~ ~ ~ The Discovery of the scrolls is usually traced to 1947 when an Arab shepherd missed one of his goats. While searching for it it in one of the steep valleys, he threw a stone into a hillside cave and heard what sounded to him like the breaking of pottery. He summoned his assistant and the two entered the cave and found some pottery, jars 25 to 29 inches high, and about 10 inches wide. In these they found objects that looked much like miniature mummies but were actually leather scrolls wrapped in squares of linen cloth. They were covered with a pitch-like substance, possibly derived from the Dead Sea.
With a vague idea that they had discovered antiquities that might bring them money, the shepherds divided the the scrolls and set off for Bethlehem, where they located an antiquities dealer and offered him the scrolls for twenty pounds. He refused to buy them.

~ ~ ~ Afterward they were directed to Jerusalem where, after bargaining for weeks, they sold four of the scrolls to Archbishop Athanasius Samuel of St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Monastery and three to E. L. Sukenik, professor of archaeology at the Hebrews university, Jerusalem.

~ ~ ~ Archbishop Samuel showed his scrolls to several authorities who were uncertain about their content and value. Finally they were taken to John C. Trever, acting director of the American Schools of Oriental Research (Jerusalem), who photographed and studied some of them, then sent copies to W. F. Albright. This well-known authority tentatively dated them "about 100 B.C," and declared them "an amazing discovery."

~ ~ ~The Arab shepherds revealed the cave where the scrolls had been found, but war between the Arabs and Jews made scientific investigation impossible until February of 1949, when Laukester Harding and Father Roland De Vaux, excavated the floor of the cave. Within three weeks they found approximately 800 scroll fragments belonging to about 75 different leather scrolls, a few fragments of papyrus scrolls had been wrapped, Roman lamps, and portions of jars and potsherds belonging to about 50 different jars.
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Active Member
(Part 2)

~ ~ ~While excavating the cave. Harding and de Vaux noticed on a nearby whitish terrace a ruin that the Arabs called Khirbet Qumran. Surmising a connection between the scrolls and the ruin, they returned in 1951 and began to excavate.

During the five expeditions, that followed, they uncovered the ruins of an elaborate central building complex, the main floor of which comprised more than 15,000 square feet. It was a community center or monastery with a massive tower for defense, an extensive culinary department, a great assembly and dining hall, pantry, laundry, storerooms, and spacious courts. An impressive water system brought water from a waterfall in the western hills into many large cisterns via carved stoned channels. Nearby were stables for horses, a community pottery workshop, extensive pools for bathing and baptizing, and three cemeteries, one of which had in excess of one thousand graves More than seven hundred coins provide evidence of almost continuous occupation for a 200 year period.

~ ~ ~ But what impressed the excavators most was a scriptorium, or writing room were the ruins of a narrow masonry table 16.5 feet long and two shorter tables with a long bench attached to the wall. In the fallen debris of this room were three inkwells, two of terra cotta and the other of bronze. One of the inkwells contained residue of dried ink that had been made from carbon (lampblack) and gum. Nearby was a double basin probably used for ritual washing before and after working with the sacred manuscripts.

~ ~ ~ The many discoveries at Qumran made possible the reconstruction of the way of life of the semi-monastic Jewish community that lived there off and on from about 110, b.c. to A.d 68.
The scriptorium, the pottery plan, a jar identical to those found in the cave, the many scroll fragments, the style of writing, and the way of life linked these people with the scrolls found in the nearby cave and led many to identify them as "the people of the scrolls," or the Essenes.
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Active Member
(Part 3)

~ ~ ~ These were the people whom Josephus, Philo, and Pliny the Elder had described as having split off from orthodox Judaism or Jerusalem, and "removed themselves from the evils and wrongs that surged up in the cities." They lived in agriculture colonies in this very section of the country and as far south as Engedi.

~ ~ ~ Life in the Qumran community was interrupted by an earthquake that Josephus said shook Judea in the spring of 31 B.C. After that almost thirty years. Then in about 4 B.c. the community returned: the buildings were repaired, the tower was reinforced, shaken walls were buttressed, new rooms were erected, and industrial kilns were constructed. There after the secluded life of prayer and study at Qumran was resumed on a larger scale.

~ ~ ~ Eleven caves in the surrounding area provided the remains of more than five hundred different manuscripts and thousands of fragments. About one-third of the manuscripts are books of the Old Testament. The remainder are apocryphal and wisdom books, hymns, and psalms, liturgies, theological works, and commentaries on some Old Testament books.

~ ~ ~ There are manuscripts or fragments of every old book of the Old Testament except Esther. The most popular books, to judge from the number of copies found of each, were Isaiah, the Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Genesis.

~ ~ ~ These were written on rolls of leather that had been carefully ruled to guide the scribes. A few were written on papyrus, and one was on copper.

Estro Felino

Believer in free will
Premium Member
The Dead Sea Scrolls are incredibly valuable.
Many philologists have been studying the differences between tham and other manuscripts like the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Leningradensis.


Active Member
(Part 4 - Final Part)

Some of the more important and best preserved of these manuscripts were:

(1) The scroll of Isaiah, known as St. Marks Isaiah Scroll, which was written on seventeen sheets of parchment sewn together end-to-end making a scroll 24 feet long and 10.2 inches high. It is the second-largest scroll and was written in an early form of the "square letter," which according to W.F. Albright places it in the second century b.c. This makes it the oldest known complete Hebrew manuscript of any biblical book, and it agrees in almost every respect with our traditional Hebrew tests.

(2) The Manual of Discipline, written on five sheets of cream-colored leather sewn together, to form a scroll 6 feet in length and 9 inches in the height. It contains detailed regulations relating to all procedures and ceremonies of the sect and describes at some length the Two Ways -- of good and evil, light and darkness-- which God sets before humanity.

(3) A second scroll of the book of Isaiah, of which the first thirty seven chapters are badly disintegrated, but the rest, chapters, thirty-eight through sixty-six, are in fair condition.

(4) "The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness," which contains nineteen columns of writing and is about 9.5 feet long, and 6 inches high. It is a military manual giving the "Children of Light" and the foes foreseen as attempting to oppress the people of God in the last Age.

(5) The Temple Scroll, the largest of all the Qumran Scrolls, and the most important for Judaic studies. The text is written in the first person as Moses speaking to God. Topics presented in the scroll included the Old Testament covenant, the temple with the feast and sacrifices, and legal regulations.
The Israeli government through Yigael Yadin, purchased the four St. Mark's Monastery scrolls from Archbishop Samuel, and constructed a special building at the Hebrew University at Jerusalem that they call "The Shrine of the Book." This now holds the original seven scroll from Cave I. A complete reproduction of the entire set of Dead Sea Scrolls and fragments has recently been made available to the entire scholarly community. This widespread accessibility will mean that some current theories about the Qumran community and its inhabitants will be revised as thousands of scholars can now study the materials with relative. English translations of the entire set are also appearing.

The area surrounding Khirbet Qumran has yielded other minor finds, including some interesting letters from the army of Bar Kochba.