HISTORIC CONNECTIONS

Bringing the Past Alive...

The Great Isaiah Scroll on display in the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem
Image courtesy of Alexander Schick © www.bibelausstellung.de

 

A great education page on the Dead Sea Scrolls, with images and facts on our large collection and many resources to help you in your understanding of this key part of Archaeological history.

Many reproduction items will be made available for sale in the near future including full size scroll jars and pottery from Qumran. See the bottom of the page for items for sale.

The full size reproductions of the Isaiah Scroll and Habakkuk commentary are NOT for sale,

 

Father Roland de Vaux holding fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

Father Roland Guérin de Vaux  (17 December 1903 – 10 September 1971) was a French Dominican priest who led the team that initially worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the director of the Ecole Biblique, a French Catholic Theological School in East Jerusalem, and he was charged with overseeing research on the scrolls. His team excavated the ancient site of Qumran (1951–1956) as well as several caves near Qumran northwest of the Dead Sea. The excavations were led by Ibrahim El-Assouli, caretaker of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, or what came to be known as the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem.

 

 

Metropolitan Athanasius Yeshue Samuel (1909-1995), was a Metropolitan and Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, as well as a central figure in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Above is a Press Release Photo of Mar Samuel holding some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In 1947, while Metropolitan of Jerusalem of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (also known as the Syrian Orthodox Church), Mar Samuel received news that some ancient texts had been discovered. Samuel arranged to see the scrolls. After examining them, and suspecting that they were indeed very old, Mar Samuel expressed an interest in purchasing them. All four scrolls that had been then discovered would find their way into his possession, including the now famous Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule, the Habakkuk Persher, and the Genesis Apocryphon. The scrolls were sold to Mar Samuel by Kando, an antiquities dealer.

Following the end of the British mandate over Palestine and Transjordan and the outbreak of hostilities between Arabs and Jews, Mar Samuel relocated to the United States in 1949, and played a major role in the life of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America. From 1952, he served as Patriarchal Vicar to the United States and Canada, and from 1957, as Archbishop of the newly created Archdiocese of the United States and Canada.

 

 

Professor Bieberkraut of the Hebrew University opening the Genesis Apocryphon.

 

 Many of the scrolls were tightly rolled and encrusted in 2000 years of soil, dirt and animal droppings buried in the soil on the floors of the caves. Professor Bieberkraut who worked at the Hebrew University at the time employed his expertise in opening the precious scrolls.

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of documents discovered in caves predominantly along the western shore of the Dead Sea, many of which are close to the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran.

They are all Judaic texts written predominantly in Hebrew, but with some written in Aramaic and some in Greek. They are written on Parchment, leather, papyrus and copper. The consensus opinion is that they are all Hebrew texts with no Christian texts among them, but a few scholars contest this.

All of the scrolls are translated and are available for study. No hidden or secret texts exist in the scrolls despite many books being written about this matter prior to the new millennium. There do not appear to be any references to Jesus or John the Baptist in the scrolls but as Jesus is of Jewish heritage a wealth of information about the background of Judaism of his time can be gleaned from the text and hence a better understanding of the Jewish origins of Christianity.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are key to understanding and confirming the accuracy of the transmission of the Biblical text over 2000 years. There is no part of the Dead Sea Scrolls that challenge the text or beliefs of our present core Christian beliefs. There are spelling variances and wording differences but the core of the text has been accurately carried through time to the present day. 

"We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own scriptures. For although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable; and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as the decrees of God, to abide by them, and if need be, to cheerfully die for them."
-Falvius Josephus (Contra Apion, Book 1, sec.,8,p158)

Cave 4 and 4a and 10 at Qumran - Image courtesy of Alexander Schick © www.bibelausstellung.de

 

 

Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the oldest complete manuscripts were those of the Masoretic text. The Dead Sea Scrolls are 1000 years older giving us a window into the original text a millenia closer to the original autographs.

The Aleppo Codex is one of these Masoretic Texts:

 Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex is the oldest and most complete  manuscript of the Hebrew Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are 1000 years older but are in a much fragmentary state but show us just how faithfully the text has been copied over time.

If you wish to know more about the Aleppo Codex see HERE

A full size reproduction of a page from the Aleppo Codex written on real parchment.
A magnificent display piece.A good example for teaching on the Masoretic Text.

 

$79.95AUD plus P&H Quote ALEPCODEX1


 

Nash Papyrus

The oldest Fragmentary text we had prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the Nash Papyrus.

 

 The Nash Papyrus is a segmented papyrus manuscript found in Egypt in 1898 by W.L.Nash. It is thought it came from the Fayyum though its provenance is not entirely known. It is dated to 150 - 100BC and was the oldest Hebrew manuscript at the time until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It contains the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael. At one point it was customary to say the Ten Commandments before the Shema Yisrael and thus it is thought that this fragment was made for this purpose. A reproduction of the Nash Papyrus is available through us.

 Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls important?

Watch these Video Clips 

The Dead Sea Scrolls - Words that changed the World HERE

Dr Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holyland HERE

 Dr Randall Price HERE



The Great Isaiah Scroll

The Isaiah Scroll was written on parchment with each section hand-sewn with animal sinew threads. The outside of the scroll shows darkened areas from the many ancient hands that held the scroll open 2000 years ago.

 The Isaiah Scroll shows evidence of three scribes having written the text with the second and third making corrections to the writings of the first scribe.

This (above) is a full size reproduction of the Great Isaiah Scroll in our collection written on Parchment. Reproductions of it are not available for sale.

 Isaiah Scroll fragment

 

 This reproduction of the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Isaiah - 4Q5 (Plate 363/1) - contains portions of Isaiah 22:10-14 (right column) and Isaiah 23:8-24:15 (left column). This section is particular importance in mentioning of the great building works performed by Hezekiah in the wake of the Assyrian Conquest in the 8th century BC, evidence of which has been discovered in Jerusalem's Old City and the City of David.The scroll dates to the first half of the 1st century AD being considerably younger than the great Isaiah Scroll.

 

 

The Habakkuk Commentary.

The Habakkuk commentary is important amongst the Dead Sea scrolls in that after the great Isaiah Scroll it is largely intact thereby allowing scholars to examine the continuity of the text from ancient times until the present. The first two chapters of Habakkuk are complete in this scroll whereas many of the other Biblical books (with the exception of Isaiah) are  fragmented of consist in quotes from the other scrolls.

 Reproductions of it are not available for sale.


 The Temple Scroll




The Temple Scroll 11QT is one of the longest of all the scrolls found in the caves around the Dead Sea. Its contents are non Biblical describing a Jewish Temple (Yet to be built) along with regulations and practices. It describes it in such away as if this temple was the type that was supposed to have been built in the first place instead of the one built by Solomon.
It is written in a square Herodian Hebrew script commonly in use in the second temple period and is written on parchment as a scroll 9 metres in length.
The text contains many sections from Old Testament books including Exodus and Deuteronomy.
There is discrepancy as to who wrote the scroll, some attesting it to the scribes of the Qumran community while others to the Zadokite priestly group only to be hidden in the caves just prior to the revolt of 70AD.
The scroll has many references to ritual purity relating to holiness when coming to the temple. There are also some references to festivals.

 Reproductions of it are not available for sale.


The Psalms Scroll

 



Our reproduction from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Thirty six copies of Psalms were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls enough to make it the most popular Biblical book found in the caves of the Dead Sea. This scroll has the best preserved text of all the scrolls. Many of the Psalms were have in our modern Bibles were found among the scrolls and fragments including an extra scroll. The order we have in our modern Bibles varies from Syriac Bibles as well as the original Septuagint (Greek) Old Testament. 

See close up images and a video clip HERE


 Psalms Scroll - Song of Ascent

 
 

The book of Psalms contains fifteen Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). Pilgrims would recite these Psalms while making their way ?up? to Jerusalem for the three annual festivals (see Deuteronomy 16:16). Scholars also maintain that they were sung by the temple priests while ascending the steps leading up to the temple.

In 1956, Bedouin discovered Cave 11 at the site known as Qumran. Six different Psalms? manuscripts emerged from the dusty cave next to the Dead Sea, revealing a plethora of insights into the way in which the sectarian group formed liturgies of both canonical and non-canonical Psalms.

The four leaves reproduced here contain portions of eleven of the fifteen Songs of Ascent. They date to the first half of the 1st century CE. Reading from right to left,   Fragment #1 (11Q-976/3) comprises Psalms 121-123:2, Fragment #2 (11Q-976/2) contains Psalms 124:7-127:1 and Fragment #3 (11Q-976/1), which has two columns, encompasses the words of Psalms 128:4-130:8 (Column 1, on Right) and Psalms 132:8-133:1 (Column 2, on Left).

The enlarged image shows where the scribe has used Paleo - Hebrew to write the Tetragramaton, the Lord's name.



The Ten Commandments Scroll


 This scroll, 4Q41 named the ten Commandments Scroll, is unique in that there is evidence of it being used as a liturgical document. More importantly, however, the scroll preserves the entire Decalogue (Ten Commandments) in the form that has been handed down to us this day.

This reproduction begins with Deuteronomy 5:1 (first column, beginning from right) and ends with verse 33 (fourth column, on the far left). The Ten Commandments begin on the first column, line 12, and ends on the third column, line 12.

The original scroll dates to the latter half of the 1st Century AD.



 The Genesis Scroll

 

 

Some 20 fragments of copies of the book of Genesis were discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This particular fragment, 4Q4, from Cave 4 was written with black ink on a thin layer of reddish-brown parchment. A linen string, which bound the page to the next one, was preserved. The scroll contains only 11 lines of text (Genesis 1:18-27). It begins with the conclusion of the 4th day of creation (separation from light and darkness) and ends with the creation of man on the sixth day.

Of interesting note is a scribal correction on the fifth line. The scribe had mistakenly forgotten the letter vav (?) but corrected his mistake by post-inserting it above the tav (?).

The fragment dates to the middle of the 1st century BC.



 Son of God Scroll

 

The Aramaic Apocryphon of Daniel, ?The Son of God? Scroll 4Q246, was found in Cave 4 at Qumran.

The sectarian community who wrote the scrolls referred to themselves as ?sons of light,? while others who were not members of their yahad movement were termed ?sons of darkness.? The sect followed their acclaimed ?Teacher of Righteousness,? a Messianic figure who, according to their writings was persecuted by the religious establishment in Jerusalem for differing theological and calendric views, and thus the community as a whole was barred from temple sacrifices.

Some texts like the Damascus Document seem to indicate that members expected this Messiah-figure to return. However, when he failed to return to the community after 40 years, they maintained a hope for one who would follow, possibly ?the Son of God? referred to in our text.

The manuscript dates to the latter half of the 1st century BC, just before the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

The translation is as follows:

  1. ?He will be called the Son of God, and they will call him the son of the Most High. Like the sparks
  2. that you saw, so will their kingdom be; they will rule several year[s] over
  3. the earth and crush everything; a people will crush another people, and a province another provi[n]ce
  4. Until the people of God arises and makes everyone rest from the sword.
  5. His kingdom will be an eternal kingdom, and all His paths in truth. He will jud[ge]
  6. the earth in truth and all will make peace. The sword will cease from the earth,
  7. and all the provinces will pay homage. The great God is his strength,
  8. He will wage war for him, he will place the peoples in his hand and
  9. Cast them all away before him. His rule will be an eternal rule and all the abysses?

Translation: The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, 1997, 2nd ed., F. Garcia Martinez, E.J. Brill, Leide/Eerdmans, Grand Rapids


 

 


The Community Rule Scroll

 The Community Rule Scroll (Manual of Discipline) 1QS was one of the first group of scrolls discovered in cave1. It is a sectarian work and is helpful for us to understand the community at Qumran. It deals with admission of new members, communal meals and some theological works. It shows us just who the people at Qumran were, their actions and beliefs.

 (Our reproduction of the Community Rule scroll)

Reproductions of it are not available for sale. 


 The War Scroll

 The War Scroll 1QM was also one of the original groups of scrolls discovered in cave 1 at Qumran.It is dated to the 1st century BC through to mid 1st century AD.This scroll describes a war between the "Sons of Light" the people of the Qumran community and the "Sons of Darkness" being a nation called the Kitim (?Romans). A confrontation that would last 49 years with the battle won by the "Sons of Light" and the restoration of the Temple services and sacrifices.

 Reproductions of it are not available for sale.

 


Damascus Document

4Q271D

The Damascus document, also known as the "Damascus Rule" was found in cave 4 at Qumran. It is the only sectarian document that had been known of before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls having been found in the Cairo Genizah half a century before. It is called the Damascus Document for its many references to Damascus thought to be an Eschatological reference to the hope of the restoration of the Davidic monarchy yet maybe not referring to Damascus itself but to the region of Babylonia as statements include "therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus", Damascus being on the edge of the Israelite boarders in Davids kingdom.

Reproductions of it are not available for sale. 


 Hodayot (1QHa The Thanksgiving Hymns)

A scroll of prayers and hymns discovered in Cave 1. These are unlike the biblical Psalms in form, and express the religious aspirations of an individual/individuals at that time. 

Image 1QHa Press Photo - Available as part of our photo archive collection.

 

One of the two rolled sections of the copper scroll as it was found .....

 

 Our Reproduction of the Copper Scroll Unrolled - 2 sections as found in Cave 3.

The Copper Scroll is an enigmatic scroll found in cave 3 in March 1952 by archaeologists from Father Roland de Vaux' team. Cave 3 is only 600m from cave 1 where the first discovery was made in 1949, its roof having collapsed in antiquity leaving its opening blocked by debris. Behind a large boulder that had collapsed into the cave, they found in a rock cut niche a copper scroll in two sections. The scroll itself is thought to have originally not been intended for rolling, as sections were "riveted" together, one such group of rivets having broken when the original owners attempted rolling leaving it in two sections as it was found in 1952.Also found in the cave were 40 scroll jars many of which were broken and most of which were essentially empty apart from a few scraps of seriously damaged scroll fragments. The contents of these jars had been damaged after the roof had collapsed and subsequent pieces were removed by rodents who took much of the debris into 2 small niches off the side of the cave, one of which held the copper scroll. From what scholars can tell by the remains of these fragments, cave 3 may have had the richest hoard of scrolls of all but alas due to two thousand years of weather exposure and rodents little remains. The scraps were of high quality both linguistically and textually.

The copper Scroll is an enigma because of the message it purveys as well as the way in which it was written. It seems to have been written by someone who was illiterate, possibly in an attempt to prevent him from knowing that it was essentially a treasure map.It listed 64 geographical locations of gold, silver and other precious items across Israel, none of which have been found. The text is Hebrew but is closer to a style used much later than the text used in the rest of the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In some places  Greek letter cryptograms were used. It has now been dated to anywhere from 30AD through to the Roman sacking of Jerusalem in 70AD despite earlier analyses interpreting the differing textual style to be much later, possibly closer to Bar Kochba. However it is the actual context in which it has been found that best sorts its dating as standard paleography does not help date this one off textual find which has no parallel.

It was originally found as two separate rolls, but was far too brittle to be unrolled. It was eventually sent to Manchester in England where a special cutting tool adapted from one that previously cut slots in pen nibs, was used to slice the scroll into 23 segments with little or no text having been lost. It is now on display in Jordan.

So what is the treasure it describes? It is not thought that the community in Qumran could have produced such wealth, and that perhaps it is a major portion of the treasures from the second temple. Many place names have changed since antiquity making it difficult to locate some of the locations listed.

Reproductions of it are not available for sale. 

Image supplied by  Alexander Schick © www.bibelausstellung.de

 

Many large fragments and scrolls were found but of the eight hundred manuscripts, fewer than a dozen were in any sense intact. The rest were mere fragments--about twenty-five thousand of them--many no bigger than a fingernail many buried in the dust of the caves amongst dirt and bat droppings having experiences the hazards of time and the weather. Acquiring these fragments from the Bedouin turned out to be more complicated than acquiring the intact scrolls from the initial cache. Yet it was critical that all these fragments end up in the same place to assure that each manuscript could be maximally reconstructed. An arrangement was worked out between the authorities and a Bethlehem antiquities dealer nicknamed Kando, who had become the middleman for the Bedouin, to purchase their finds. In this way, all the fragments were eventually acquired by what was then the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jordanian-controlled east Jerusalem. Payment arrangements had to be changed from price per scroll fragment to price per square centimeter to prevent the scrolls being segmented to gain more money. Many were delivered in old tobacco tins.



Papyrus 7Q5 from the Dead Sea.

 

Papyrus 7Q5 was found in cave seven at Qumran and was translated by scholar Jose o"Callaghan as being the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark. He is supported in his view by some scholars including Carsten Peter Thiede by is contested by other scholars.

Reproductions of it are not available for sale.

 

4QSamb


Fragment 4QSam b is the oldest of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments dated to c250BC. It was found in cave 4, and is one of a few copies of fragments of Samuel found buried in deep debris in the bottom of the cave. As can be seen from the image there is worm damage. It is written in a fine scribal hand and was written on the hair side of the parchment.

Reproductions of it are not available for sale.


 War Rule fragment

This six line fragment that is part of what is called the War Rule scroll has been named by some as the "Pierced Messiah Scroll fragment". The text is a Herodian script of the first half of the first century AD and refers to a Messiah from the branch of David, to a judgement, and to a killing.

The text of line four reads:"and the Prince of the Congregation, the Branch of David, will kill him." An alternate reading reads "and they killed the Prince". It is because of this second reading that it was dubbed the "Pierced Messiah". Perhaps alluding to Isaiah 11:4.

Reproductions of it are not available for sale.


A recreation of the Settlement at Qumran.

The Scriptorium at Qumran where inkwells, reed pen (made from a palm) and a long plastered table were found.

VIRTUAL QUMRAN

Have a look at Qumran HERE.

Excavations on the Qumran Plateau

in 2002-2004 Dr Randall Price had been excavating the area at the end of the Qumran plateau an area beyond the settlement that was thought to have not been built on. This area has revealed a number of key finds including some new intact and sealed jars as well as storage pits and tunnels.

One jar was found to contain gypsum, maybe to provide the materials that were used to line to ceremonial pools or Mikvaot.

Another sealed jar found buried with the remains of animal bones and pottery lamps and cooking vessels was tested and found to contain wine. 

See an interview with DR Randall Price HERE.

A sundial found at Qumran thought to have been used to determine the cosmic calendar for the celebration of the Jewish feasts. 

 Sundial from Qumran

A reproduction of a sundial found at Qumran. 90mm diameter.

$39.95AUD plus P&H Quote QUMSUND1

Dead Sea Pottery

 

Dishes, Bowls and cups as found in the ruins at Qumran.

 

A set of three pottery pieces reproduced after pottery excavated at Qumran.

A reproduction of a set of three pieces of pottery found at Qumran. This set was used for dinning purposes and includes a plate, bowl and drinking cup. Handmade in Israel.
$39.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE QUMRAMSET3

An archaeologist examines pottery in the pantry at Qumran. The dinning room at Qumran contained many orderly stacked plated, bowls and cups indicating it was to be used by a communal group. (Press photo 1965). This image is available as part of our photo archive collection.

 


 The Dead Sea Scroll Jars

Large pottery Jars with inverted dish shaped lids were found in many of the Dead Sea Caves, some of which held rolled parchment scrolls. Many fragments were found scattered across the floor of the caves.

These pottery jars were not specifically designed for the scrolls as the scrolls are to small for them. They were most likely originally designed for storage of food and bulk items but as necessity demanded were pushed into action as a means to store the scrolls in the caves. The jars vary subtly in size and shape, some having lugs around the rim as a means to tie down and seal the lids.

Recent tests have shown that the clay used to make the jars comes from the area of the Dead sea where they were found.


 

Dead Sea Scroll Jar 

A reproduction of the jars that the scrolls were stored in. Small desktop size.160mm.

$14.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE DSSCROLLJAR1

 

 Full Size Dead Sea Scroll Jar

A full size Dead Sea Scroll jar 550mm high 640mm high with lid.Made in Israel shipped direct to you. Two styles are available.

$85.00AUD plus P&H QUOTE DSSJARLGE

PLEASE NOTE: THIS ITEM IS SHIPPED DIRECT FROM ISRAEL.  

 


Qumran Wine Jar
 
A reproduction of a pottery jar excavated recently on the Qumran plateau. The jar was sealed and contained the remains of wine and was buried with food items, (Bones) eating utensils and oil lamps indicating that it was used in a ritual meal.