The majority of the scrolls are poorly preserved: fewer than a dozen were found in a satisfactory state.
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Discovered between 19, the Dead Sea Scrolls comprise some 800 documents but in many tens of thousands of fragments. See all Exhibits/Events View BAS Travel Study Programs Enjoy book reviews by top scholars on wide-ranging topics in religion, archaeology and Biblical studies.
This priceless collection of ancient manuscripts is invaluable to our understanding of the history of Judaism, the development of the Hebrew Bible, and the beginnings of Christianity.
and were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; they contain Biblical and apocryphal works, prayers and legal texts and sectarian documents.
The scrolls discovered in the vicinity of Qumran have all been ascribed to the Hellenistic-Roman Period, from the third century BCE to the first century CE.
Various dating methods were employed, among them paleography (the study of ancient scripts) and radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating (a chemical test used for organic materials).Most of the scrolls are written on parchment (specially prepared animal skins, thicker if inscribed on the outer, "hairy" side, thinner if inscribed on the inner side).A smaller number are written on papyrus (a kind of paper made from the papyrus plant).These manuscripts constitute the oldest evidence for the text of the Hebrew Bible.Approximately two hundred copies of biblical books, most of them very fragmentary, were found at Qumran, encompassing almost all the books of the Hebrew Bible (with the exception of Nehemiah and Esther).Copies of non-canonical (apocryphal and pseudepigraphical) works were discovered as well; some of these had previously been known only in ancient translations (for example, Tobit, Jubilees, and 1 Enoch), while others were completely new to us (such as the Genesis Apocryphon or the Temple Scroll).