03 June 2011

Final Report

This final blog will be a summary of all my researches, in this page you will find in synthesis of all the information collected and posted in the previous pages. This is an overview about my findings on the  Dead Sea Scrolls.
Year 1947, in a desolated land called Qumran, between the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea, a Bedouin,  Muhammed edh-Dhib,  “The Wolf” is looking for his lost goat. He is throwing stones into the caves to check the presence of the lost animal. In doing this he hears a sound of breaking  jars. Moved by curiosity he found, at the bottom of the cave, different jars containing ancient texts: The Dead sea Scrolls.
Between 1947 and 1956 Qumran has been the most important archaeological site of the world . In this period a collection of 972 ancient texts in 11 different caves has been found. The majority of them are made of parchment or papyrus, mainly written in Hebrew and Aramaic and few in Greek.  The Scrolls have been analysed by many scholars and organizations, such us the university of California using sophisticated techniques like Cyclotron to demonstrate their authenticity. Studies have been able to date the Scrolls between the 150 BCE and 70 CE.

We can classify the content of the Scrolls in three different categories:
40%  Biblical: texts from the Hebrew Bible
30%  Apocryphal: or non-bible texts with documents not canonized in the Hebrew bible.
30%  Sectarian: previously unknown documents about beliefs and rules of a particular group such us “Community Rule”, “Rule of Blessing” and “War Rule”.
Among the Biblical texts we find:

39 Psalms  
33 Deuteronomy  
25 1 Enoch  
24 Genesis
22 Isaiah
21 Jubilees
18 Exodus  
17 Leviticus  
11 Numbers  
10 Minor Prophets  
8  Daniel  
6  Jeremiah
6  Ezekiel  
6  Job 6
4  1 & 2 Samuel

 Who wrote them?
Many theories have been supported by the scholars to find the authors of the most  ancient texts ever discovered. Here is the list of the most significant:

The Essene Theory
This is the prevailing theory. The presence of sectarian texts led Scholars to assume that the Scrolls were written by a sectarian Hebrew group, who decided to establish in Qumran to escape a kind of persecution.  Biblical Scholars Roland GuĂ©rin de Vaux and  Jozef Tadeusz Milik , affirm that this sect were the Essene that escaping from the Maccabees dominace, decided to leave Jerusalem and to settle in Qumran. Many similarities between the community described in the Sea Scrolls and our knowledge of the Essene people has brought to consider that the Essene Theory was the most trustable hypothesis among all the others.

The Sadducean Theory
Not all scholars agree with Milik and de Vaux. New York University professor of Jewish and Hebraic studies Lawrence Schiffman belives that this sect was in reality the Sadducee. Schiffman bases his theory on the "Miqsat Ma'ase Ha-Torah" Scroll which is identical to the Sudducee laws and which also include a festival calendar according to the Sadducee festival days.

Jerusalem Origin Theory
Others Scholars like Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, affirm that the scrolls were the product of Jews living in Jerusalem, who hid the scrolls in the caves near Qumran while fleeing from the Romans during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

The Christian Origin Theory
I have dedicated an entire post to this theory because it has generated a lot of controversies throughout the years. This hypothesis assumes that there is a connection between the Scrolls and the beginning  of Christianity. It can also change all the certainties we have about the history of Christianity, including the historical time of its origin.
Michael Wise, Assistant Professor of Aramaic  in the Department of Near Eastern Languages at the University of Chicago and Robert Eisenman of the Department of Religious Studies at State University of California, have tried to connect Christianity to the Scrolls, referring to the quotations about the Messiah found in the Scrolls.  Particularly in Isaiah we have the description of the Man of sorrow, which is talking about Christ’s passion.
In fact about 20% of the scrolls were soon published, but the remainder were held out for 35 years, this gave  some scholars the impression  that important truths were hidden in the Scrolls, so important that the Vatican was trying to avoid the publication.
This Theory was very soon declared false, when the Scrolls were finally published, and at the end the  Scholars arrived to the conclusion that there is nothing in the scrolls to show that Christianity came from Qumran.
The connection showed with Isaiah in fact is part of the old testament which is dated thousand  years  before Christ, and it is the prophecy of the Messiah. The word “Jesus” and other elements of his life, that could support the idea that the community of Qumran has known Jesus Christ, are not present in the Scrolls.

The Mystery of the Copper Scrolls
One Scroll, among all the 900 texts  found in Qumran, is unique for many reason: It’s not made of parchment or papyrus but of metal: Copper!  It’s not written in usual Hebrew but in a different dialect, the Mishnaic Hebrew.  The content is also unique: it is not Bible texts and not sectarian rules.
It is a the oldest treasure map ever found. A list of 64 locations hiding gold, silver and precious priest garment. 
There is also the anomaly that seven of the location names are followed by a group of two or three Greek letters. Scholars have connected this particularity of the Scroll with Greek inventory, using similar “cataloguing” methods at the Greek Temple of Apollo. This similarity to the Greek inventories, would suggest that this scroll is in fact an authentic "temple inventory."
Some of the places mentioned in the scroll are easy to locate in  a modern map: Jericho, the valley of Achor and Mt Gerizim still exist, but many of the hiding place are no longer present on the map and  are very difficult to locate. The Salomon Canal, the well of Milham and Matia’s courtyard are hiding gold garments and treasures but there is no idea where they could be. 
Scholars have estimated in 1960 that the total value of all the gold and precious items present in the list would top $1,000,000 U.S.
The last sentence  of the Copper Scroll is an enigma inside the enigma:
“In a dry well at Kohlit… a copy of this document with its explanation … and an inventory of each and everything”
There is another Scroll, lost somewhere, that can explain the Copper one and provide more information about the immense treasure described on it.


It has been really interesting to explore the mystery of the Dead sea Scrolls, one of the most important archaeological findings of the History. Their value is as immense as a document of 2000 years ago,  and it is a sight to the past. But as University of North Carolina archaeologist Jodi Magness, said: “there are more interpretations than data” and Schiffman added: ”Popular books with new theories about Qumran sell”.
 Sometime in order to find new different theories and hypothesis, scholars have lost the richness of the documents themselves and have created controversies and business.   
The only thing that the adversaries seem to agree on is “Money is root of every problem”.  It must be written in some passages of the Scrolls!

‘Copper Scroll’ [image] Saint Paul’s Church Milwaukee, viewed 3 Jun 2011,
‘Manuscript’ [image] CNRS International Magazine, viewed 3 Jun 2011,
‘Who Wrote the Scrolls’, Maxwell Institute, viewed 3 Jun 2011,
Copper Scroll Project Jerusalem Post Article, The Copper Scroll Project, viewed 1 Jun 2011,
‘Christ the Lifegiver’ Logoi, viewed 3 Jun 2011,
‘Copper Scroll’ [image] San Diego Jewish World, viewed 3 Jun 2011,
Isrealarchaeology 2010, The Dead Sea Scrolls Conspiracy Theory, viewed 24 May 2011,

Greyshark09 2009, National Geographic - Riddles of the Bible: Dead Sea Scrolls 1/5, viewed 23 May 2011,

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