“The Dead Sea Scrolls”

In early 1947, three shepherds belonging to the Ta‘amireh Bedouin were searching for a stray animal. One of them threw a rock into a cave and heard an earthen jar break. When they entered the cave, they saw it contained several large clay jars, some of which held scrolls.  In the ensuing years, Bedouin and archaeologists found several hundred scrolls in 11 caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.  Most of the scrolls were written in Hebrew or Aramaic on parchment, although a few Greek texts have been found as well. They apparently constituted the expansive canon of scripture belonging to the people who resided at the discovery site ensuing years. Bedouin and archaeologists found several hundred scrolls in 11 caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. (The actual name of the site is Qumran (after the name of the nearby wadi or dry streambed).

Many scholars believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century. The scrolls provide an ancient library of more than 900 texts, most of them written in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament. About 225 of the scrolls contain the oldest copy of the Old Testament (except for the book of Esther), which is more than 1,000 years older than the copies used during the Middle Ages. Most of the scrolls date between 150 B.C. and A.D. 68, although some texts date as far back as the third century B.C.

In addition to traditional biblical texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls also include the Temple Scroll (describing a temple to be built in Jerusalem and the ideal covenant society). the War Scroll (describing the end-of-days conflict), and texts parallel to the Bible (such as the books of Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, and the testaments of Jacob, Judah, and Levi). Little is known about Enoch in the Bible, but in the scrolls, Enoch is a major character—a mighty prophet with special gifts.

By Donald W. Parry
Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brigham Young University

Author: saedgar

This website is a collection of many subjects and thoughts that are important to me, and some insights I’ve learned “...along the way.” I think of myself as just a simple man with a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel. But, I have lived (and continue to live) an extraordinary and enjoyable life. I've tried to share some highlights here. I have so many good memories. (SAE)

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