Introductory

  • Discovery (Muhammed edh-Dhib [the Wolf]), Nov 1946-Feb 1947
  • Khalil Eskander Shahin, or "Kando" (middle man)
  • 1947-1956
  • Hidden since 68 AD
  • Other caves with manuscripts have been discovered (outside scope of this podcast).

The community

  • Monastery
  • Established in late 1st C BC
  • Near NW shore of Dead Sea at Qumran
  • Living quarters
  • Dining hall
  • Miqva’oth (immersion pools; singular miqveh)
  • Scriptorium
  • Women present? Bedouin graves.
  • Abandoned in First Jewish War

Language

  • Mainly Hebrew
  • Some Aramaic
  • A few Greek pieces

Materials

  • ~100 papyri (round 10% of the scrolls)
  • ~800 skins (nearly 90% of the scrolls are on vellum)
  • 1 on Cu
  • Most DSS written outside Qumran

Content

  • Biblical manuscripts—about 40% 0f the scrolls (225 out of nearly 1000)
    • Psalms
    • Deuteronomy
    • Isaiah
    • Exodus
    • Genesis
    • Etc.
  • Commentaries
  • Apocryphal works—about 30%
  • Other religious writings—mainly in Hebrew and Aramaic, with some in Greek and Nabataean
  • Even a list of hidden treasure
  • How to decipher the scroll designations
    • Cave no.
    • Q = Qumran
    • Manuscript no.
    • Pictured: section of Temple Scroll from Cave 11: 11QTa

1024px-Temple_Scroll

Conspiracy?

  • Delays in translation
  • Vatican cover-up?
  • Fully available in English since the early 1990s

NT background 

  • Essene response to “system”
  • Viewed themselves as the true Israel
  • Frequent baptisms
  • Communal meals
  • Dozens of phylacteries found at Qumran
  • Donkey and ox – Matt 12:12
  • Angels, demons, heaven, hell, end-times, Messiah, apocalyptic battle, and more
  • 11QTem64.7-13a = 4Q524 – crucifixion until dead for traitors (novel adaptation)
  • Reveals existence of a different Heb text type, from which the LXX was translated, superior to MT.
  • Nature of apocalyptic – Daniel (Revelation); 1 Enoch; etc.
  • Expectations about the Messiah
    • Community leader
    • 4Q246 – Messiah is Son of God and Son of the Most High
    • 4Q521 – When Messiah comes, heaven & earth obey him: dead raised; sick healed; oppressed rescued.
    • 11Q13 – Isa 61: enemies destroyed; explains Luke 4 reaction
    • 4QMMT – works of law justify us – Paul counters
    • CD 7:18-8:1 = 4Q266 fr.3, 3.20-30; 4Q269 fr.5 ll.3-4 – Num 24:17 applied to coming royal messiah
    • 1QIsaa

Apologetic significance

  • Seriousness about careful copying of scripture.
  • OT mss record: gap shrinks to a few centuries from over 1000 years!
  • DSS had already lasted centuries—even by 70 AD
  • Well explains the kind of Messiah expected -- or not expected -- in the time of Christ.