Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’
Parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are up for sale—in tiny pieces. Nearly 70 years after the discovery of the world’s oldest biblical manuscripts, the Palestinian family who originally sold them to scholars and institutions is now quietly marketing the leftovers—fragments the family says it has kept in a Swiss safe deposit box all these years. Most of these scraps are barely the size of postage stamps, and some are blank. But in the last few years, evangelical Christian collectors and institutions in the US have forked over millions of dollars for a chunk of this archaeological treasure.
This angers Israel’s government antiquities authority, which holds most of the scrolls and threatens to seize any more pieces that hit the market. But William Kando, a member of the family that first sold the scrolls, isn’t worried. “If anyone is interested, we are ready to sell,” he says. Written mostly on animal skin parchment about 2,000 years ago, the manuscripts are the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible ever found, and the oldest written evidence of the roots of Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land.
Dead Sea Scrolls are currently located in the following collections:
— Israel Antiquities Authority (More than 10,000 scroll fragments)
— Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum (Seven of the most complete Dead Sea Scrolls)
— France National Library (377 scroll fragments representing 18 scrolls)
— Amman Museum (fragments of 20 scrolls, including the Copper Scroll)
— Heidelberg University in Germany (four phylactery pieces)
— Franciscan private museum in Jerusalem’s Old City (two fragments)
— Terre Sainte Bible Museum in Paris (two scroll fragments)
— University of Chicago (one fragment)
— McGill University in Montreal (a few fragments)
— St. Mark’s Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Teaneck, N.J. (fragments of three scrolls)
— Schoyen Collection in Oslo, Norway (115 fragments)
— Asuza Pacific University in Asuza, Ca. (5 fragments)
— Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Tx. (3 fragments)
— Green Collection in Oklahoma City, Ok. (12 fragments)
— Private collection of Spaer family, Jerusalem (2 fragments)
— Private collection of Kando family in Bethlehem, West Bank (the family does not reveal how many fragments remain in its collection, but estimates range between 20 and 40.)
Some fragments have gone missing, including three large fragments of the Book of Samuel and two pieces from the Book of Daniel which were stolen from the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in 1966 during a tour of international diplomats. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
The Dead Sea Scrolls main collection is online here.
Over at the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) blog. How exciting!
We are pleased to announce that September will be Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls month here on the ASOR blog. Starting Tuesday, September 4th, we will be posting contributions from leading scholars on Qumran and the scrolls. Check back often to see the latest updates!
It’ll be well worth following. Updates will be made here.
‘Judaism, Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls’ by Prof Lawrence Schiffman is well worth a watch.
At the New York ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ exhibition with Dr Lawrence Schiffman:
The Biblical Archaeology Society has released a free e-book, ‘Dead Sea Scrolls: Discovery and Meaning’.
Orit Shamir (Israel Antiquities Authority) and Naama Sukenik (Bar-Ilan University) have studied the plain, linen textiles that were found in the Qumran caves so as to determine who the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls were. Lives Science has the article:
The Dead Sea Scrolls may have been written, at least in part, by a sectarian group called the Essenes, according to nearly 200 textiles discovered in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank, where the religious texts had been stored.
Scholars are divided about who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls and how the texts got to Qumran, and so the new finding could help clear up this long-standing mystery.
The research reveals that all the textiles were made of linen, rather than wool, which was the preferred textile used in ancient Israel. Also they lack decoration, some actually being bleached white, even though fabrics from the period often have vivid colours. Altogether, researchers say these finds suggest that the Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect, “penned” some of the scrolls.
Not everyone agrees with this interpretation. An archaeologist who has excavated at Qumran told LiveScience that the linen could have come from people fleeing the Roman army after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and that they are in fact responsible for putting the scrolls into caves.
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of nearly 900 texts, the first batch of which were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. They date from before A.D. 70, and some may go back to as early as the third century B.C. The scrolls contain a wide variety of writings including early copies of the Hebrew Bible, along with hymns, calendars and psalms, among other works.
Nearly 200 textiles were found in the same caves, along with a few examples from Qumran, the archaeological site close to the caves where the scrolls were hidden.
Orit Shamir, curator of organic materials at the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Naama Sukenik, a graduate student at Bar-Ilan University, compared the white-linen textiles found in the11 caves to examples found elsewhere in ancient Israel, publishing their results in the most recent issue of the journal Dead Sea Discoveries…
Do read on here.
It’s a good article.