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The Dead Sea Scrolls

Ancient Scroll
An Ancient Scroll

According to the official record, in the summer of 1947, the year before the founding of the modern state of Israel, a few Bedouin boys were grazing their flocks near the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea). One of the lads, in searching for a lost goat, climbed up among the cliffs in search for the animal. Thinking that perhaps the goat had wandered into a cave that he saw, he threw a stone into the opening in an attempt to spook the goat, if it had been in there, back out. The sound that he heard from inside the cave was unexpected - the stone hit pottery. (Recent information from American archaeologist Vendyl Jones, who claims to have spoken with the then-adult discoverer, provides a curiously different story of how the boy found the cave that contained the scrolls - however, the basic facts about the scrolls remain undisputed).

And so it was that one of the most valuable archaeological discoveries of this century was made - a number of pottery jars in the cave contained the ancient scrolls of a hidden library dating from before the first century A.D. Others have since been found in the same area, and more are very likely out there somewhere in the Judean Desert waiting to be uncovered.

Though there remains much disagreement among scholars, many now believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls were possibly written by the Essenes - a priestly Jewish sect who lived a very separate life, even keeping themselves apart from the Jewish religious officials in Jerusalem. They didn't want much to do with other people, and according to most accounts, most people didn't want much to do with them. What eventually happened to them is not known.

The Dead Sea Scrolls themselves consist of copies of every book of the Hebrew Bible (see By The Book), with the exception of the Book of Esther, which may not yet have been considered canonical at that time. There are also a number of other non-Biblical scrolls in the collection dealing with life of the Qumran community, such as the "Manual of Discipline." Another is the mysterious Copper Scroll, so called because it is made of that metal. It seems to give a list of the locations of a number of valuable items that may have been, and very likely were, widely hidden over the countryside.

The one consistent factor of every archaeological discovery in the region is that they always lend support and proof to what is already written in your Bible. Truth cannot be disproved.

Fact Finder: When Jesus Christ spoke in the synagogue in Nazareth, which scroll (Book of the Bible) did He read from which He said identified Him in Prophecy?
(a) Isaiah (b) Jeremiah (c) Leviticus (d) Daniel
Luke 4:16-21

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