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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Dead Sea Scrolls

 In 1947 the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd boy in a cave on the shore of the Dead Sea where they had been hidden in around 68 AD by a Jewish monastic community.

Over the following nine years a search of the surrounding caves led to a total of around 850 documents being found.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a group of ancient scrolls and fragments of all of the Old Testament books except the Books of Esther and Nehemiah plus other historical texts and they date from around 150 BC to 68 AD, a thousand years older than the earliest Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament (AD 895).

A portion of the second discovered copy of the Isaiah scroll, 1QIsab.
Four of the Dead Sea Scrolls were offered up for sale in an advertisement in the 1 June 1954, Wall Street Journal. They were purchased by Israelis Professor Mazar and the son of Professor Sukenik, Yigael Yadin, for $250,000 on February 13, 1955  and brought to Jerusalem.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time on September 22, 1991 by the Huntington Library.

The scrolls reveal how accurately the scribes carried out the copying of earlier Hebrew texts. It is interesting to note, for instance, that the 14 copies of the Book of Isaiah have produced only six minor changes to the text as previously known. 

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