The Dead Sea Scrolls at the Gnostic Society Library

Readers approach the Dead Sea scrolls from a variety of perspectives and with differing interests. The texts "say" different things to different people. For students of Hebrew literature, the biblical texts and commentaries preserved in the DSS collection offer the opportunity for textual research using early and previously unknown source documents. Experts in paleography find in the Scrolls material for analysis of developing and changing Hebrew writing styles. Specialists in the history of Judaism find documents in the collection that shed new light on the diverse and heterodox trends present in Judaism during the intertestamental period. Students of Christian origins see in the texts evidences of the apocalyptic, messianic foment from which Christianity arose. While the DSS certainly do offer insights into the Jewish cultural milieu that gave formation to Christianity, there is probably nothing in the Scrolls collection directly reflecting events or personages known to early Christian history.

History & Overview of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls discovery: Obscure fragments …

Dead Sea Scrolls Archives - Biblical Archaeology Society

In the last two decades of the twentieth century, several objections to the Qumran-Essene thesis of the Scrolls' origins were voiced within the academic community. Even louder objections arose over continued refusal of the Dead Sea Scrolls "team" to allow all qualified scholars open access to unpublished materials in the collection. After forty years, Scrolls research remained the exclusive domain of a small, self-selected team of scholars. Worse still, over several decades the group had made woefully little progress publishing material from the collection, particularly the large cache of scroll fragments discovered in Cave 4. The whole project was becoming an academic scandal, intermittently punctuated by conspiracy theories suggesting occult purposes motivating sequestration of the yet unpublished materials.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Shed Light on the Accuracy of our …

The "Qumran-Essene dogma" was originally developed to explain a relatively small number of newly discovered documents, including texts in a previously unknown literary style that apparently represented a divergent, "sectarian" voice within Judaism. Early studies of the DSS identified this voice as Essene, and viewed the Scrolls as a remnant of the sect's library. As the numbers and kinds of scrolls discovered multiplied however, critics argued that the probability all these manuscripts had been collected, copied, and archived by a single Essene community living at Qumran dwindled. Over 800 distinct documents have been identified among the scroll fragments found in the caves of the Judean desert. A large number of these are previously unknown works written in several styles. Hundreds of different scribal hands are found in the manuscripts, including fragments in Greek script. In addition, as Dr. Golb argues, the collection is almost devoid of the type of "historical autographs" – works in an author's own hand, such as personal and official letters, lists of names, inventories, deeds of ownership – that might link a cache of documents with a specific source community. Objective archeological scrutiny of the Qumran site also suggests it may have functioned in ancient times as a military fortress, and not principally or exclusively as a religious and scribal commune. Persuaded by such arguments, several scholars have completely rejected the traditional "story of the Dead Sea Scrolls".

THE ESSENES | Family Tomb of Jesus

Early in this period of discovery an hypothesis about the source and authors of the scrolls had formed in the minds of de Vaux and his associates. In retrospect, it was only a working hypothesis. But it became a story fixed in history. Faced with several pieces of a puzzle – ancient Hebrew scrolls stored in a cave, a manuscript among those scrolls tentatively identified as the rule of an Essene community, and the ruins of an ancient community's dwelling directly below the cave – de Vaux fit the puzzle’s pieces into a temptingly obvious picture: The Dead Sea Scrolls were the library of an Essene community that once occupied the ruins at Khirbet Qumran. Details disclosed from early excavations at Khirbet Qumran all worked neatly into the story: the ruins contained a large room that would have been a scriptorium (a term previously used to describe rooms in medieval monasteries); remnants of long tables were found that could have served for copying lengthy scrolls; and three ink wells were found.

The "Qumran Hypothesis" – attributing the origins and authorship of the scrolls to an Essene community at Khirbet Qumran, a theory perhaps more accurately called the "Qumran-Essene dogma" – became a party line in Dead Sea Scrolls studies for the next 40 years. The integrity of this thesis was buttressed by highly restricted access to the scrolls. Manuscripts were parceled out for study and translation to a small clique of academics, directed by de Vaux.

Were his teachings influenced by Essene practices

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation [Michael O Wise, Martin G