From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dead Sea Scrolling

(Qumran Cave 4)
Scrolling up or down an Internet page took on a more esoteric
meaning as of this past autumn.  That’s when five of the Dead Sea Scrolls debuted on the Internet in what called a “high-resolution, fast-loading, searchable form.”

A collaboration between Google and Jerusalem’s Israel Museum is what made this initial release of five such scrolls possible, and further digitalizing of the “vast collection” is expected to follow.  This collection of 800 to 900 scrolls - which includes the “oldest
known biblical manuscripts” - was discovered in caves along the
northwest shore of the Dead Sea approximately 50 years ago. 
Almost every part of the Hebrew Bible is represented (including
the entire Book of Isaiah, but excluding the entire Book of Esther). tells us that the Dead Sea Scrolls have been called “the evolutionary link” between Judaism and Christianity.  The collection contains such gems as “the last words of Joseph, Judah, Levi, Napthali, and Amram (the father of Moses)” – as well as “previously unknown stories about biblical figures such as Enoch, Abraham, and Noah” (including an explanation of why Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac).

Non-biblical writings such as the following are also included:  rule books, hymns, treasure maps, commentaries, benedictions, psalms, philosophy, and liturgical passages.  The passages are mostly in Hebrew.  However, some are in Aramaic, and a few are in Greek.  The Dead Sea Scrolls collectively seem to be “the library of a Jewish sect.”  Which sect is not exactly known - although it is often suspected that the scrolls came from what was once the ancient nearby settlement of Qumran.

According to, Qumran was located on a “dead-end” stretch of land that provided the “perfect location for the isolationist sect of the Essenes to live.”  Wikipedia describes the Essenes (whom many are convinced were the scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls) as a Jewish communal group that was “dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, daily immersion, and abstinence from worldly pleasures…”


Copyright January 10, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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