When it comes to the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were uncovered throughout eleven different caves located on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea (thus the name). Discoveries of these texts were conducted from 1947 to 1956. Some believe that these scrolls are one of the best finds in regards to manuscripts throughout the years.
The Most Intact Cave Finds
Out of all the caves associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls, the most intact pieces of the manuscript have been located within Caves 1and 11.
The Largest Cave Finds
In 1952, the most amount of material was uncovered in Cave 4, where close to 15,000 fragments from more than 500 different manuscripts were located.
The Number of Scrolls Found
It is estimated that between 825 and 870 individual scrolls have been uncovered. Now, that is a lot of analyzing and deciphering going on when you’re dealing with a ton of fragmented manuscript pieces.
2 Different Types of Scrolls
Not all of the scrolls are associated with the Bible. The Scrolls have been classified as either being biblical or non-biblical. Various fragments with the exception of the book of Esther have represented every book from the Old Testament.
The Oldest of the Scrolls
The Scrolls are considered to be the oldest set of the Old Testament uncovered.
Non-Biblical Sections of the Scrolls
As stated before, not all of the Scrolls deal with the Bible. Some of the manuscripts deal with Thanksgiving rituals, hymns, the art of war, as well as rules for community living.
What Language are the Scrolls Written In?
Most of the Scrolls are written in Hebrew, but some sections can be found in Aramaic, which was a common language used among the Jews of Palestine during the last two centuries BC and first two of AD. Some texts can be found written in Greek, as well.
Why in the Caves?
The caves seem to have been a hidden library among a Jewish sect that lived in the area. The scrolls were placed in the caves for safekeeping when an outbreak occurred during the First Jewish Revolt. This event is calculated to have happened somewhere around AD 66-70. A Roman army threatened the well being of rebellious Jews and they were forced to implement safety precautions for the texts. It’s amazing that they were not uncovered during the revolt.
Famous Last Words
The Scrolls contain the last words of Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali and Amram, who was the father of Moses.
One of the Most Interesting Scrolls
Called the Copper Scroll, a list of more than 60 underground dwellings used for hiding spots throughout Israel are included. Inside these areas, it is believed that gold and silver is stowed away within these locations. Additional scrolls are thought to be located within this secret hiding places. It is believed that the treasures originate from the Temple at Jerusalem. This scroll was uncovered inside Cave 3.
The Longest Scroll of the Bunch
Located within Cave 11, the Temple Scroll is the longest out of all the scrolls, measuring close to 30 feet in length. It was not found in its entirety, but it is believed to have been more than 30 feet in length.