Thursday, October 4, 2007

Archaeology & Bible 26: The Dead Sea Scrolls


*Discovered between 1947 and 1956 by Jordanian bedouins in eleven caves along the Northwest shore of the dead sea

*13 miles east of Jerusalem and 1,300 feet below sea level

*The Scrolls appear to be the library of a Jewish sect (most likely the essenes*) which was hidden away in caves around the outbreak of the Jewish-Roman War (66 C.E.). Archaeological evidence indicates the settlement had been inhabited since about 150 B.C.E.

*comprised of the remains of approximately 825 to 870 separate scrolls, represented by tens of thousands of fragments

*The texts are most commonly made of animal skins, but also papyrus and one of copper

*Most of the texts are written in Hebrew and Aramaic, with a few in Greek.

Biblical manuscripts:

*Frangments of every book of the old testament except Esther

*Virtually complete Isaiah scroll which has been referred to as the "Great Isaiah scroll". Has been carbon dated to a range of 335 BC-107 BC.

Other Material

*Commetaries on the Hebrew scriptures

*Community rules

*Apocryphal texts

*Psalm like material of the community

*Commnity wisdom texts


*Perhaps the literature of the essene commuity

*Shows hightened messianic expectaions in the 1st century BCE and early first century, and interpretations of books such as Isaiah

*Shows the book of Daniel to have been in wide circulation in the 1st Century BCE. A wide circulation by this time leads credance to an early composition date

* Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible were Masoretic texts dating to 9th century.The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back to the 2nd century BCE.

Useful Links

No comments: