Dead Sea Scrolls’ Secrets Unearthed by New Finds

August 2, 2010

(Chattahbox) – New archaeological clues are making historians rethink their theories about the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Since the scrolls were discovered roughly 60 years ago, they’ve thought that a group of Jews called the Essenes, who lived in Qumran (near where the scrolls were discovered) wrote the scrolls.  New finds suggest that they might not have had it all figured out as well as they thought.

New evidence suggests that the scrolls may have been written by multiple groups of Jewish people, many of them as they fled from the Roman destruction.  A cryptic chalice found near Qumran suggests that some of the texts may have been written by Jewish religious leaders who went into a self-imposed exile.  The scrolls, or at least some of them, could have been written elsewhere and brought to Qumran; the archaeologists say that only about half of the pottery found in Qumran was made on the site.

Not everyone agrees, though.  Many experts think that the documents display doctrines that are too similar to belong to several different sects of Judaism.  What most scholars do agree on, however, is that the caves were probably meant to be a temporary storage place for the scrolls during the chaos that reigned during the period.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that we’re slowly making progress in understanding these ancient texts.  More at National Geographic.


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