The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956. They had been discovers in thirteen caves around the ancient Dead Sea, just thirteen miles from Jerusalem, in an area which is now known as the West bank.
When they examined the scrolls the historians realized that they could be sectioned into three definite parts. first are the biblical scrolls which include fragments of every single book of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament with the exception of the book of Esther. This makes up about 40% of the scrolls.
then there were other scriptural writing which were not included in the Bible canon, this made up another 30% of the Dead Sea scrolls, and the final 30% were sectarian. showing rules and laws that were part of the Jewish faith. They also showed how different sects within Judaism had different rules and laws, including details such as Commentary on Habakkuk and war scrolls.
It is interesting to note that there were many copies of the book of Isaiah, Deuteronomy and Psalms from the Old Testament Bible. How did these books come to be copied so many times? It could be because faithful Kings were required to copy out the books of law in their own handwriting.
The Languages of the Scrolls
The Dead Sea scrolls were written mostly in Hebrew, but also in Aramaic. Many people in the area spoke Aramaic in the last to years A.D. and the first two years B.C. There were also some parts of the sea scrolls written in Greek. Because of these Dead Sea scrolls our knowledge of language of the time is greatly enhanced, so such an extraordinary find has helped our knowledge in many different ways.
How the Dead Sea Scrolls Were Discovered
Bedouin shepherds in the region of Qumran originally found them. Three cousins found seven Dead Sea scrolls in a jar in a cave. They took them home to their family, who held onto the sea scrolls for some time, they take them to a dealer in Bethlehem and so they sold some of the scrolls and kept some. The sea scrolls were then sold on to others in the area.
In 1947, a man named John C. Trevor from the American School of Oriental Research came to hear about them, and he compared them to the oldest known manuscript of the Bible at the time. He saw definite similarities between the two scrolls , and then on the 11th April 1948 the find was announced to the world in a press release from ASOR (American School of Oriental Research).
While the Dead Sea scrolls do not indicate a specific ancient Dead Sea kingdom, it does show us a great deal about the Jewish people of the day, and their rules and beliefs. The sectarian manuscripts give us vital information about the lives of people of the time. This goes to add up to a better view of history.
The Religious Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Many of the scrolls found by the ancient Dead Sea have proved the accuracy of the Bible, and this cocurs with other manuscripts discovered around that time.
while there is still some argument about the origin of the scrolls, the main theory is that they were the property of a particular sect of Jewish people who lived close to the ancient Dead Sea kingdom, in nearby Qumran, called Essenes. This theory is debated by other modern scholars but there is nothing absolutely conclusive agreed on yet.
The sea scrolls help us see more about Christianity and Judaism, and some people have called the Dead Sea scrolls the evolutionary link between the two. Who knows what else we will discover around the ancient Dead Sea?