Dead Sea scrolls

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Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea scrolls are documents discovered near the Dead Sea in Israel. They were an important source of information about the Holy Land in the first century after Jesus Christ's ministry on earth, and make up some of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Old Testament.

The first scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd who uncovered seven scrolls in a cave. In the following decade, further searches yielded many thousands of scroll fragments, and there are currently over 900 such documents, discovered in eleven different caves.[1] A nearby habitation, known as Qumran, was also excavated in this time in an effort to identify the people who left the scrolls in the caves.

"Scholars have pointed to similarities between beliefs and practices outlined in the Qumran literature and those of early Christians."[2] The Biblical Scrolls' contents focus the books from the Old Testament. The Scrolls are written in Hebrew and in Aramaica with a few texts in Greek. The use of Hebrew was a surprise to many scholars who felt that Hebrew had become a dead language by that time, and this discovery gave new evidence to a claim that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were originally written in Hebrew and then quickly translated into Greek.[3]

According to the Library of Congress:

Within a fairly short time after their discovery, historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence, as well as carbon-14 dating, established that the scrolls and the Qumran ruin dated from the 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. From the standpoint of biblical archeology, this was unparalleled. Coming from the late Second Temple Period, a time when Jesus of Nazareth lived, they are older than any other surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures by almost one thousand years. [4]

Many of the scrolls are now conserved in Jerusalem, although some are in the hands of the Jordanian government. Among those looked after by the Jordanian government is the famous Copper scroll[5].

Most part of the biblical books that have survived two millennia in the caves are extremely fragmented; many are no larger than the size of a postcard, and some fragments are as small as a postage stamp. Even the smallest fragment, however, can add to our knowledge of the Bible.... With the exception of the book of Esther, every book of the Old Testament has been found in the Qumran caves. [6] All told, 230 Biblical manuscripts have been found (of course many are copies of the same books).[7]

Among the many copies of the Bible found were:[8]

  • 35 copies of the Psalms
  • 22 copies of Deuteronomy
  • 21 copies of Isaiah (The copies of Isaiah were written over a period of 180 years).

Much of the writing was on parchment made from the Ibex, a goat native to that area. Other scrolls were on papyrus and one scroll was on copper (the Copper Scroll).[9]

Contents

See also

External links

References

  1. http://www.sdnhm.org/scrolls/history.html
  2. JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY AND THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS Library of Congress Exhibitions.
  3. http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/2001/may2001p20_453.html
  4. THE WORLD OF THE SCROLLS Library of Congress Exhibitions.
  5. Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, San Diego, Sept 30 2007
  6. Old Testament Texts at Qumran
  7. http://www.sdnhm.org/scrolls/history.html
  8. exhibit
  9. exhibit

Sources

  • Burrows, M., The Dead Sea Scrolls (Secker & Warburg, 1956).
  • Vermes, G., The Dead Sea Scrolls (Penguin, 1968).
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