The story of the discovery of the scrolls and their rescue, is almost as legendary as the scrolls themselves.
The scrolls were found in 11 caves, off the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. None of them were found at the actual settlement of Qumran. A Bedouin goat or sheep-herder by the name of Mazra made the first discovery toward the beginning of 1947.
The shepherd threw a rock into a cave in an attempt to drive out a missing animal under his care. The shattering sound of pottery drew him into the cave, where he discovered several ancient jars containing scrolls wrapped in linen.
The scrolls were first brought to an antiquities dealer named Ibrahim 'Ijha, who returned them after being warned that they may have been stolen from a synagogue. The scrolls then fell into the hands of Khalil Eskander Shahin, "Kando", a cobbler and antiques dealer.
Arrangements were made with the Bedouins who had little interest in the scholarly value of the scrolls but rather in making as much money as possible from their sale.
Some scrolls were broken into tiny pieces and offered for sale in match boxes to dealers and interested parties!
After some time, the Dead Sea Scrolls went up for sale in a June 1, 1954 advertisement in the Wall Street Journal.
“MISCELLANEOUS FOR SALE
THE FOUR DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Biblical manuscripts dating back to at least 200 B.C.
are for sale. This would be and ideal gift to an educational
or religious institution by an individual or group.
Box F 206 WALL STREET JOURNAL"
On July 1, 1954 after some delicate negotiations, the scrolls, were purchased for US$250,000 by reputable scholars.
Some of the documents were published in a prompt manner: all of the writings found in Cave 1 appeared in print between 1950 and 1956; the finds from 8 other caves were released in a single volume in 1963, and 1965 saw the publication of the Psalms Scroll from Cave 11. Translation of these materials quickly followed.
The exception to this was the documents from Cave 4, which represent 40% of the total finds. The publication of these had been entrusted to an international team led by Father Roland de Vaux, a member of the Dominican Order in Jerusalem. This group published the first volume of the material entrusted to them in 1968, but spent much of their energies defending their theories regarding the materials, instead of publishing them.
As a result, a large part of the finds from Cave 4 were not made public for many years. Access to the scrolls was governed by a "secrecy rule" that allowed only the original International Team or their designates to view the original materials. After de Vaux's death in 1971, his successors repeatedly refused even to allow the publication of photographs of these materials, preventing other scholars from making their own judgments.
Despite certain difficulties concerning prompt publication, the Dead Sea Scrolls still provide dramatic evidence that the sacred scriptures have been protected and preserved down through the millennia by holy spirit.
They give us confidence that the Bible we hold in our hands today is essentially the same text that the inspired penmen wrote centuries ago.
They provide incontrovertible evidence that the Bible is indeed the inspired word of God and is "beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16)
Would you like to learn more about the fascinating story of the Dead Sea Scrolls ?
Who were the mysterious writers of the dead sea scrolls ?
Were they written by the sect of the Essenes (as suggested by many respected scholars) or could they have been originally written by the Sadducees and later transported to Qumran? ( a modern theory).
How did they end up in the inaccessible caves of the Qumran area ?
Why are the scrolls still surrounded by controversy ... even to the present day ?
The answer to these and many more questions can be found in the excellent DVD ROM presentation
(computer use only):
The presentation is in FOUR sections:
1. Reference Works (75 volumes : PDF : 25 volumes new with 2012 edition))
- The Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit (US Library of Congress) An Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- The Cave of Riches - Alan Honour Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Christian - Erik Larson
- Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls (F F Bruce) The Teacher of Righteousness (F.F Bruce)
- The Dead Sea Scrolls & Christian Doctrine (Matthew Black) Letters of Light - The Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- Deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon Qumran - J Murphy O'Connor
- The Dead Sea Scrolls & The Jewishness of our Gospels (Craig Evans) The Dead Sea Scrolls & Jewish Mysticism - Anon
- Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls (H.H Rowley) Prayer and Poetry in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- Jerusalem's Essene Gateway - Bargh Pixner What was Qumran? - Edward Cook
- Messianism in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon Religious Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- Was Qumran an Essene Settlement ? (Alan Crown) Daily Life at Qumran - Magen Broshi
- Qumran Excavations - Anon Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- Qumran Scribal Activity (Stephen Goranson) Holy Spirit in the Qumran Texts - FF Bruce
- Water Systems of Qumran (Patricia Hidiroglou) The Dead Sea Scrolls in English - Anon
- In Search of the Qumran Library - Mireille Belis Time in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon The Dead Sea Scrolls (Wikipedia)
- Great Battles over Qumran (Florentino Martinez) Reflections on the Dead Sea Scrolls - Edward Young - Tradition in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls -Anon
- The Temple Scrolls - Florentino Martinez Dead Sea Scrolls and Contempory Culture - Anon
- The Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon Fragments of Mark at Qumran - Colin J Hemer
- The Story of the Scrolls (Patrick Zukeran) The Dead Sea Scrolls and The Hasmonean State
- The Scrolls from the Judean Desert - A M Habbermann Moral Purification at Qumran - Casey Toews
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and Primitive Christianity - Jean Danielou The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- The Qumran Essenes - Norman Golb- Recent Discoveries in Bible Manuscripts - F F Bruce
- The Sect of the Essenes - Anon Suffering Servant in the Dead Sea Scrolls - Anon
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism - Lawrence Schiffman
- Origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls - Norman Golb
- Dead Sea Scrolls (extracts) (1)
- Dead Sea Scrolls (extracts) (2)
- The Book of Jubilees
- Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls - James Vanderkam
- Calendrical Texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls Anon
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Formation of the Bible Canon - Francis Anderson
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Doctrine - Matthew Black
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament - William Brownlee
- Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins - Anon
- Recent Finds in Palestine - F F Bruce
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity - Edward Young
- Questions of Canon Viewed through the Dead Sea Scrolls - James Vanderkam
- The Identity of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls - David Pardo
- The Messiah at Qumran - Paul Rainbow
- The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered - Anon
- Recent Literature discussing the Dead Sea Scrolls - F F Bruce
- Messianic Expectations at Qumran - F F Bruce
- The Scrolls and the Scribes of the New Testament - Joseph Dampier
- New Testament Fragments at Qumran - C J Hemer
- Holy Spirit in the Qumran Texts - FF Bruce
- The New Testament Cannon - Craig Allert
- The Gospels and Some Recent Discoveries - FF Bruce
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostics - Anon
- The Dead Sea Habakkuk Scroll - FF Bruce
- Jesus and the Gospels in the Light of the Scrolls - FF Bruce
2. Video Presentations
Ten full video documentaries, interviews and lectures - over 11 hours of material.
(7 hours : new with 2012 edition)
Over 9 hours of audio material (mp3) with a full text transcripts included (pdf)
(7 hours : new with 2012 edition)
3 scholarly presentations giving detailed information and
fascinating insights into the significance and importance of the dead sea scrolls.
Over 50 full color jpeg images featuring the scrolls and related topics.
An exhaustive collection for anyone interested in the
Dead Sea Scrolls and in the accurate preservation of the word of God.