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The Dead Sea Scrolls: An Enlightening Archaeological Discovery

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In early 1947, a Bedouin shepherd boy went searching for a stray goat that had wandered away onto the cliffs along the coast of the Dead Sea. While looking for it, he discovered a cave containing pottery jars filled with manuscripts that would come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The study of these scrolls has advanced human understanding on the authenticity of the Old Testament, the development of historical Hebrew texts, the culture of the Jewish community where Christianity was born and Rabbinic Judaism was developed, and the connections that can now be made between Judaism and Christianity.

When Juma, the young sheep herder from the Taamireh Bedouin tribe in an area of the Judean desert known as Qumran heard shattering from inside the cave he just threw a rock into, he called to his two cousins, but it was getting too late in the evening to investigate the noise. The next day the youngest cousin, Muhammed, went up and searched the mysterious cave expecting to find great treasure (Varner). Instead, Muhammed returned to the village disappointed and empty-handed, for all he found inside the cave was many pottery jars containing leather scrolls wrapped in linen cloths (Schiffman 2233). Still, the villagers brought the scrolls back to be used as fire fuel when they noticed that seven of these manuscripts contained religious texts ("Discovery").

These seven scrolls began their journey to fame with an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem. In 1948, three of the seven scrolls went from here to the Hebrew University. The other four were sold to the Syrian Orthodox Monastery of St. Mark. Later, these four scrolls were brought to the American School of Oriental Research, where their antiquity first came to the attention of archaeolo...

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...es.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. New York: Macmilla Reference USA, 2005. 2845-8. Print.

- - -. “What Really Are the Dead Sea Scrolls?” Jewish-Christian Relations. International Council of Christians and Jews, 2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2010.

Silberman, Neil Asher. “Dead Sea Scrolls.” The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Ed. Brian M. Fagan, et al. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. 169-71. Print.

Solanki, Paul. “Importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Buzzle. N.p., 2000-2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2010.

Varner, Will. “What Is the Importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls?” Christian Answers. Associates for Biblical Research, 1997. Web. 27 Apr. 2010.

“Why Are the Scrolls Important.” The Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation. N.p., 2008. Web. 26 May 2010.

Wilford, John Noble. “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fragile and Remarkable.” New York Times 8 Oct. 1993: n. pag. Web. 26 Apr. 2010.
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