Okay, this is a work in progress.. any corrections or supplemental information would be greatly appreciated :D

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a series of over 800 manuscripts that were stored in earthen jars and hidden for two millennia in various caves located near the ruins of Qumran in the Judean Desert near the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The first seven of the scrolls were found in 1946 or 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd in Khirbet Qumran who chanced upon a cave as he was looking for a lost goat. Subsequent searches unearthed jars containing scrolls and artifacts from ten more caves (eleven caves total.) Paleographic and archaeological evidence placed the date of the scrolls' origin between 2nd century BCE and 1st century CE. Carbon-14 dating confirmed the date of composition and storage of the scrolls as being 3rd century BCE to 68 CE, thereby confirming the Dead Sea Scrolls as containing the oldest biblical texts ever found. They are a thousand years older than the Leningrad Codex (of the Masoretic Text), which was copied in 1008 CE and is the basis for nearly all English translations of the Old Testament. This stuff is as old - or older - than Jesus.

A large portion of the manuscripts have deteriorated to dusty fragments. There are over 15,000 fragments in all, some only about as big as a fingernail. Many sections remain well preserved though, and there are numerous publications of them. The original texts were written mostly in Hebrew, with a few in Aramaic and Greek, on scrolls made of animal skins and papyrus. They included all of the Old Testament, save Nehemiah and Esther, with multiple copies of some books. There are also biblical commentaries, psalms, hymns, prayers, poems, calendars, histories and rules. Many scholars maintain that the scrolls were produced by Essenes, a Second Temple era Jewish sect. There are significant discrepancies with this line of thought though, and the bottom line is that no one is really sure who wrote them or why they were hidden away.

a little more detail...

The shepherd discoverer, named Jum'a Muhammad Khalil was a member of the nomadic Ta'amireh tribe of the Bedouin people. One day, as he was looking for a stray goat among the cliffs near the Dead Sea, he was tossing stones into the openings of caves he passed. There came a crashing noise from inside one of the chasms. Jum'a was surprised and curious about what had made the noise but as it was nearing nightfall, he put off investigation. The next day, he and some others returned to the site to explore. Another shepherd by the name of Muhammad edh-Dhib lowered himself into the cave. There he found the clay jars about two feet high, some broken and some intact, containing seven scrolls of text written in Hebrew.

Months later, the shepherds brought the scrolls to antiquities dealers in Bethlehem and Jerusalem in hopes of getting some money for them. From there, three of the scrolls were sold to a Hebrew University professor of archaeology named E.L. Sukenik and four to Mar Anthanasius Yeshue Samuel, archibishop of the Syrian Orthodox monastery of St Mark in Jerusalem. Sukenik proceeded to prepare his scrolls for their eventual publication while the archbishop sent his to specialists at the American School for Oriental Research. John Trever, from ASOR was the first to photograph the scrolls. After studying them and taking detailed pictures of them with his colleague William Brownlee, Trever sent the scrolls to archaeologist William F. Albright of Johns Hopkins University for evaluation. It was Albright who first dated the scrolls as having been composed around 100 BCE. ASOR director Millar Burrows was given by archbishop Samuel the right to publicize his manuscripts and in April of 1948 Burrows issued press release officially announcing the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Excavation and Publication
News of the discovery began to spread. Scholars were eager to uncover and study more of the scrolls but political unrest prevented excavation from going full speed ahead. British occupation of Palestine was newly ended and Israel had been declared a Jewish state. Violence between Arabic and Israeli political factions was rampant. With all the sociopolitical upheaval and discord surrounding the area in which the scrolls had been found, exploration of the area was difficult and sometimes dangerous.

In 1949, Jordan occupied central Palestine and so had control of Qumran and its vicinity. G. L. Harding, who was the British director of antiquities for Jordan, launched a search of the first cave with aid of Jordan's Arab Legion. Harding authorized Roland de Vaux of French Dominican l'Ecole Biblique to take control of surveying the cave. Through this project, many more artifacts and manuscript fragments were discovered there. Manuscripts from Cave 1, as well as essays, arguments, dissertations and books regarding them began getting published almost immediately.

Over the years, Bedouins continued to discover many more caves, not all of them containing scroll material. However, they were reluctant to disclose to scholars the caves' exact locations for fear of being left completely uncompensated for any of their discoveries. Eventually (how is not entirely clear) de Vaux was able to persuade some of the Bedouins to assist him in locating the caves. Excavation began in five of the caves in 1952. One of the caves found that year; Cave 4, held thousands and thousands of fragments from more than 500 separate manuscripts. Cave 4 housed by far the largest collection of scrolls. In 1956, four more collapsed caves were discovered containing only fragments of various manuscripts. In 1956, the last of the Dead Sea Scroll caves, Cave 11, was discovered. In it were many more well preserved scrolls.

Though the contents of Cave 1 were quick to be disclosed, the same cannot be said for subsequent scroll discoveries. Many of the manuscripts were kept by private institutions and were not generally released for public study and interpretation for many years. Fragments from the eight caves which held the least amount of material were not published until 1963. In 1967, the Six Day War left the Palestine Archaeological Museum, where all of the manuscripts were now held, in Israeli control. The scholars who had until then been working on the scrolls (namely de Vaux and his appointees) were decidedly Pro-Arab and refused to aid in any further publications.

After de Vaux's death in 1971, the publication of scroll material speeded up a bit, but not much. The same select group of people continued to have sole possession of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Demands and refusals that the scrolls be released to a wider range of scholarly inspection persisted for two more decades. Over this period of time, some of the manuscripts were published but many scholars were still frustrated at the slow pace and incomplete nature of the released works. After years of pressure, and after some of the more stalwart secretors of the scrolls had kicked the bucket or resigned from their positions, photographs of the complete manuscripts were finally released in 1991. The material released included the contents of Cave 4 which had held most of the manuscripts and had been made the least publicly available out of all the scroll material.

There are many theories as to why it took so long for all of the manuscripts to become available for public scholarship and publication. Some say that there was simply too much material with too few qualified people to complete all the work needed for publication in a timely fashion and that more scholars could not be assigned to the task due to the fragile condition of the material. Many believed that the reluctance to release the full findings stemmed from a religious/political conspiracy designed to keep from publication scroll material that might contradict doctrine. Some people just chalk it up to irresponsible and unprofessional scholarship. There are many, many books that address this subject. Check your library. It's interesting stuff.

The first seven of the Dead Sea Scrolls now reside in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. There have been numerous museum exhibitions of scroll fragments throughout the world. The Library of Congress has a site for their exhibit at http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/scrolls/. Study of the scrolls is ongoing and new books and theories on the subject are continually being released.

The scroll titles are assigned by the cave number they were found in, a Q for 'Qumran,' and the manuscript number they were given. This system of categorization was implemented subsequent to the titling of the first seven scroll discoveries, so those text are numbered a little differently. They all begin with '1Q' followed by any of the following reference letters:
Gen - for the book of Genesis
Hab - for the book of Habakkuk
M - for Milhamah, which means 'War Rule'
S - for Serek, which means 'order'
Columns and line/row numbers are specified. Some fragment numbers are specified as well. '...' is used to denote missing text or text that has deteriorated too badly to make out.

For the present, I'll work on noding scrolls that are not copies of biblical books. Later I'll either add the Old Testament manuscripts or note how they differ from the traditional Old Testament text. I'll add notes for most of these texts as well. Eventually, I hope to have this node perfected in terms of historical accuracy and detail, and to have all of the intact Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts added to E2. I'm planning on noding a bit more each day. I'm just getting started.. this is gonna take a long time.

The Dead Sea Scrolls:

noded so far:

Sectarian Rule, Lore and History and Miscellanea:

aka The Copper Scroll - an inventory of buried treasure.

Wiles of the Wicked Woman.

aka The War Scroll - Detailed description of Armageddon

Biblical Interpretation, Paraphrase and Commentary:

aka: 1Q20, Tales of the Patriarchs, Genesis Apocryphon - a first person account by Lamech, Noah, and Abraham. Expands on Genesis scripture.

not yet noded:

Sectarian Rule, Lore and History and Miscellanea:

The Ages of the World - 4Q180-181
Baptismal Liturgy - 4Q414
The Birth of the Chosen One - 4Q534-536
Blessings of the Wise - 4Q525
Classes - 4Q275
Confession Ritual - 4Q393
The Book of Giants - 4Q203, 1Q23, 2Q26, 4Q530-532, 6Q8
The Book of Secrets - 1Q27, 4Q299-301
The Community Rule - 1QS, 2Q255-64, 4Q280, 4Q286-7, 4Q502, 5Q11, 5Q13
The Damascus Document and related manuscripts - 4Q265-273/4QD, 5Q12, 6Q15
Exhortaion to seek Wisdon - 4Q185
An Exorcism - 4Q560
False Prophets - 4Q399
God the Creator - 4Q392
The Healing of King Nabonidus - 4Q242
A History - 4Q183
Inheritance of the Firstborn - 4Q369
Israel and the Holy Land - 4Q226
Laws about Gleaning - 4Q284a
Laws about Lots - 4Q278
Laws for Purification - 4Q284
Liturgy of Blessing and Cursing - 4Q280, 4Q286-289
Lives of the Patriarchs - 4Q464
Messianic Rule - 1QSa
Parable of the Bountiful Tree - 4Q302a
Portions of Sectarian Law - 4Q265, 4Q394-9
Priestly Blessings for the Last Days - 1Q28b, 1QSb
A Priestly Vision - 4Q563
Proverbs - 4Q424
Purification Ritual - 4Q512
Redemption and Resurrection - 4Q521
Register of Rebukes - 4Q477
Remonstrances - 4Q471
Ritual Purity Laws concerning Liquids - 4Q274
Ritual Purity Laws concerning Menstruation - 4Q278
Rule of Initiation - 4Q275
The Rule of War - 4Q285, 11Q14
Sage to the Children of Dawn - 4Q298
Sapiental Works - 4Q413, 4Q415-418, 4Q420-421, 4q423-424, IQ26
The Secret of The Way Things Are - 4Q410, 4Q412-413, 4Q415-421, 4Q423, 1Q26
A Tale of Joshua - 4Q522
The Temple Scroll - 11QT
Test of a True Prophet - 4Q375
Tongues of Fire - 1Q29, 4Q376
Tribes of Israel - 4Q371-373, 2Q22
The Two Ways - 4Q473
The Vision of the Four Trees - 4Q552-553
A Vision of the New Jerusalem - 1Q32, 2Q24, 4Q554-555, 5Q15, 11Q18
A Vision of the Son of God - 4Q246
The War of the Messiah - 4Q285, 11Q14
The Wicked and the Holy - 4Q181

Biblical Interpretation, Paraphrase and Commentary:

on Exodus - 4Q374
on Genesis - 4Q252-254a
on Habakkuk - 1QpHab
on Hosea - 4Q166-7
on Isaiah - 4Q161-165
on Michah - 1Q14, 4Q170
on Nahum - 4Q169
on Psalms - 4Q171, 4Q173, 1Q16
on Zephaniah - 1Q15, 4Q170
on Biblical Law - 4Q159, 4Q513-514
on The Last Days Verses - 4Q174
on the Law of Moses - 4Q251
The Acts of King - 4Q248
Enoch - 4Q201-202, 4Q204-212
Enoch and the Watchers - 4Q227
Ezekial - 4Q385-391
Jubilees - 4Q216-228, 1Q17-18, 2Q19-20, 3Q5, 4Q482, 11Q12
Noah - 1Q19, 4Q534-536, 6Q8, 6Q19
Tobit - 4Q196-200
Entry into the Covenant - 4Q275
A Joshua Tale - 4Q522
A Bagasraw Tale - 4Q550a-f
Messaianic Anthology - 4Q175
The Targum of Job - 11Q10, 4Q157
The Targum of Leviticus - 4Q156
The Pentateuch - 4Q158, 4Q354-357
Account of Samuel - 4Q160
The Ashes of the Red Heifer - 4Q276-277
Elijah Apocryphon - 4Q384-390
Judah Apocryphon - 4Q538
Moses Apocryphon - 4Q377
Last Words of Joseph - 4Q539
Last Words of Kohath/Qahat - 4Q542
Last Words of Naphtali - 4Q215
Paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus - 4Q422, 4Q225
Sermons on The Flood - 4Q370, 4Q185
The Vision of Amram - 4Q543-548
The Vision of Daniel - 4Q43, 4Q244, 4Q245
The Vision of Jacob - 4Q537
The Words of Levi - 1Q21
The Words of Archangel Michael
The Words of Moses - 1Q22
The Archangel Michael and King Zedekiah - 4Q470
Commentary on Scriptural consoling passages - 4Q176
A Biblical Chronology - Q4559
The Coming of Melchidezek

Psalms, Hymns, Meditations, Prayers and Poems:

Apocryphal Psalms - 4Q88
Beautitudes - 4Q525
Festival Prayers - 1Q34, 1Q34bis, 4Q507-509
Hym celebrating the Morning or Evening - 4Q408
In Praise of God's Grace - 4Q434-437, 4Q439
In Praise of King Jonathan - 4Q448
Joshua psalms - 4Q378-379
Lament for Zion - 4Q179
Meditation of the Sage - 4Q444
Meditation on Isreal's Histor - 4Q462
Daily Prayers - 4Q503
Prayer of Praise - 4Q408
Prayer for Deliverance - 4Q501
Prayers for Forgiveness - 4Q393
Prayer of Enosh and Enoch - 4Q369
Prayer of Nabodinus - 4Q242
Royal Psalms - 4Q380, 4Q381
Songs for the Holocaust of the Sabbath - 4Q400-407, 11Q17
Songs of the Sage for Protection Against Evil Spirits - 4Q510-511
Songs to Disperse Demons - 11Q11
Thanksgiving - 1QH, 1Q35, 4Q427-432

Calendar Texts:

Annalistic Calendar - 4Q322-324b
Calendar of Heavenly Signs - 4Q319
Horoscopes - 4Q186, 4Q534, 4Q561
Liturgal Calendar - 4Q334
The Phases of the Moon - 4Q317
Order of Divine Office - 4Q334
Priestly Service for Sabbath, Month, Seasons, New Year's and Passover - 4Q325-326, 4Q328-330
Sabbaths and Festivals - 4Q327, 4Q394
Synchronistic Calendars - 4Q320-321a
Words of Heavenly Lights - 4Q504-506
Zodiacal Calendar with Brontologion - 4Q318

note!: this will become better organized as I get into noding the texts a bit more.

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