The Qumran Documents (Dead Sea Scrolls) Essay

The Qumran Documents (Dead Sea Scrolls) Essay

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The Qumran Documents (Dead Sea Scrolls)

The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Qumran Documents is the single most important religious find of the twentieth century. These manuscripts have revolutionized the entire field of biblical study and have the ability to destabilize the mass of western religious thought as we know it today. For the information contained in these scrolls, include books of the Hebrew Bible that predate the next earlier example by one thousand years. The data found in these scrolls enable us to form a historically accurate reconstruction of the time period formative of Rabbinic Judaism and of Christianity. By studying the customs and the religious practices of the Essene people we can put together a snapshot of the religious and political times that were in place at the start of Christianity.

In 1947 near the city of Qumran, a young Bedouin shepherd named Mohammed Dib of the T'Amireh tribe left his village in search of a goat that had become lost. He threw a stone into a small cave in a cliff thinking the goat had taken refuge inside the cave. When he threw the stone he heard the sound of pottery breaking. The next day he returned and found the entrance to the cave. Inside the cave he found ten jars made of clay. Most of the jars were empty and one held only dirt, but inside the remaining three he found scrolls. The scrolls he found were made of ancient papyrus, stuffed in jars and wrapped in linen. On a second visit he found four more scrolls. These scrolls were taken to an antiques dealer named Kando in Bethlehem in the hopes that they might be worth something on the black market. Kando bought the four scrolls from the shepherd boy nicknamed "The Wolf" for roughly one hundred and ten...


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...d to reveal nothing to outsiders, even under pain of death. They must keep all the information contained in their books secret. They possess nothing of their own and eat in common together. They did not believe in the practice of animal sacrifice. They also only worked in crafts that contributed to peace. They also believed that God was the source for all good but could not be the cause of any evil.

The dating of the community at Qumran has been done with a considerable amount of accuracy due in part to coins found near the settlement which dated to the time of John Hyrcanus (103-104 B.C.). This indicates that the settlement was begun in the second century B.C. or shortly thereafter. Archaeological findings clearly show that a city existed in Qumran and a community named the Essenes lived in Qumran from the middle of the second century B.C. to A.D. 68.

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