The discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a remote Judean Desert cave in 1947 is widely considered the greatest archaeological event of the twentieth century.Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists ultimately found the remains of hundreds of ancient scrolls.
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Fragments of every book of the Hebrew Bible (except the Book of Esther) were found in the Qumran caves, the most famous of the Dead Sea Scrolls sites.
Remarkably, some of these ancient copies are identical to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible that is used today.
Other copies preserve differences in the text, which was in the process of standardisation.
This small scroll preserves one of the earliest known copies of the “Ten Commandments” (the Decalogue), a central dogma in Judaism and Christianity, and the majestic description of their divine revelation at Mount Sinai.
This particular fragment, from a Greek translation of the Minor Prophets discovered in the Cave of Horror at Nahal Hever, contains a prophecy of Micah about the End of Days and the rise of a ruler out of Bethlehem.
Non-biblical texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls offer us a tantalizing glimpse of life during the Second Temple period and the opportunity to understand the attitudes, desires and aspirations of the people of that time.
Most of the scrolls from the Qumran caves are religious writings from the Second Temple period.
Some of these reflect the life and philosophy of a distinctive group that called itself the “Yahad” (“Community”).
This book of Psalms is one of the best preserved biblical scrolls, containing 48 psalms, including 7 that are not found in the standard Masoretic version of the Bible.
An additional prose passage provides one of the most ancient references to King David as the composer of the book of Psalms: “and David, the son of Jesse, was wise, and a light like the light of the sun...
And he wrote 3,600 psalms.” Psalm 133, shown here, praises peace and togetherness.