QUMRAN - THE STORY OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
On the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, amidst landscapes of fantastic beauty, stand the remains of a monastic settlement of the Evsei community - Qumran, one of the Hebrew religious sects. This settlement existed between the 2nd century BC. and 68 AD until the tenth Roman legion finally occupied the region. After that, many of the Yevseyes, as a sign of their last resistance, took refuge in Massada.
The Eve is a religious community of a monastic type that recognized the Holy Scriptures but rejected the authority of the Temple in Jerusalem. They were characterized by an ascetic life, celibacy, bringing up other people's children in their own concepts, and performing rituals, some of which resemble the rites of early Christians.
The followers of the “Teacher of Righteousness”, as the founder of the sect was called, went into the desert to live in communities in poverty, sharing the fruits of their own labor for all, purifying themselves, receiving “baptism” and ritual ablutions, studying the holy scriptures and meditating on them in anticipation of the imminent end of the world ... Eating in the community took place at a common table and had the character of a sacred rite.
Among the ruins of the monastery, one can distinguish a wide variety of rooms: kitchens, warehouses, a large scriptorium where sacred texts were copied, a refectory, pottery workshops, and several pools used both for collecting water and for ritual ablutions.
It is known that the ancient inhabitants of Qumran were good builders. From the western heights through the aqueduct, water entered the cisterns, and then through an ingenious system of pipes, it was distributed throughout the premises.
QUMRAN - SCROLLS OF THE DEAD SEA
An interesting story is the discovery of ancient manuscripts (manuscripts) called the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran. They were first found in 1947, quite by accident, by a Bedouin boy shepherd in a grotto near the monastery.
The scrolls were manuscripts on the skin and were in specially sealed amphoras, and each scroll was wrapped in linen, which indicates that the one who hid them was worried about their safety. This was followed by specially organized searches in nearby caves.
However, the material found in other grottoes was not laid out so neatly, which means that the sudden event that followed forced the Evsei to leave their place of residence. This probably happened during the period of the Jewish uprising.
As a result, about 600 manuscripts were found in Qumran. After examining the age of the scrolls, scientists have concluded that most of the manuscripts were written two centuries BC. The manuscripts found, written in Hebrew and Greco-Aramaic, are a thousand years older than the oldest copies of the Old Testament in Hebrew, known before 1947. They contain all the texts of the Hebrew Bible (except for the text of Esther), the apocryphal texts of the Old Testament, and several texts of the Qumran community, describing its rules and doctrines.
Scholars differ on the origin of manuscripts. Some believe that all the manuscripts were written by Yevsey in the local scriptorium. Others argue that most of the manuscripts found at Qumran previously belonged to the library of the Second Jerusalem Temple. Apparently, they managed to be taken out of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Temple and given to the Eusey for safekeeping. And only a small part of the manuscripts found in Qumran was created in the local scriptorium.
DEAD SEA COPPER SCROLLS
In 1952, copper scrolls were discovered in one of the caves. They were scrolls of thin strips of highly oxidized copper, which were so brittle that when touched they could simply crumble to dust. The scrolls were opened in Manchester at the University of Technology. To do this, they had to be cut into small strips. We read them four years later, in 1956.
The scrolls turned out to be a list of treasures hidden in the Dead Sea area. The amount of gold and silver described in the copper scrolls ranges from 138 to 200 tons. But these are not just ingots of rare metals, they are whole treasures.
Apparently, the zealots, during their flight from Jerusalem in 66, managed to take out part of the treasures belonging to the Second Jerusalem Temple, bury them in different parts of Judea and draw up an inventory. Copper scrolls are just an inventory of these treasures. And the inventory was transferred to the storage of the Eusey, taking into account their relationship to earthly riches.
Many of the places where the treasures are hidden have not yet been deciphered. Several expeditions have already set off in search of treasures, but the terrible climate and lack of basic amenities forced the archaeologists to retreat.
It is known that in St. Petersburg, the National Library contains the richest collection of Hebrew manuscripts, numbering over 20 thousand copies. Among scientists, there is an opinion that among them there is a certain ancient text that gives a key to the identification of those places that are described in copper scrolls.
The best way for sightseeing in Israel is by renting a car. You can read about how to rent a car in Israel, about the rules of the road and parking here.
OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT QUMRAN IN ISRAEL
1.What is the meaning of Qumran? Qumran is one of the archeological sites located on the West Bank just 40 km outside Jerusalem, the national park is managed by the authorities of Israel and believed to be the place where the scrolls of the dead sea were found, the meaning of the name, "Kamur? or Curved, The location was created by the rivers of the Judean Desert.
2.Is Qumran in Israel or Palestine? Qumran is located in territory B, the caves are recognized as a Jewish heritage site .the controversial territories are populated by Palestinian and Jewish population but controlled by the Israeli military and the government of Israel takes full responsibility for Qumran, therefore Qumran is located in Israel.
3.Who is the Qumran community? An ascetic sect of Jews who lived in the Judean Desert near the Qumran River, along with the northwest shore of the Dead Sea roughly between 1st-century B.E and 2nd century A.D, the community had the only man and the number of the members was around 200 people.
4.Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls important? The Dead Sea Scrolls are probably the greatest discovery of the 20th century, the scrolls are important since the first physical script of the bible was actually found in these scrolls, the scrolls of the Dead Sea were encouraging locals and foreigners to explore the Judean desert and reveal more biblical secrets which were hidden in the Judean desert.
5.Who hid the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the 1950s by a bedouin boy in one of the caves at the Qumran site, the scrolls were hidden and scattered around the Judean desert for many years by the Essenes who lived in Qumran for centuries.
6.How Dead Sea Scrolls were found? The authentic Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, when a Bedouin herd found clay jars in Qumran caves that contained thousands of parchment scrolls more than 2000 years old, including some of the oldest surviving copies of the oldest Hebrew Bible.
7.Where are the Dead Sea Scrolls kept? The Dead Sea scrolls are kept in the national Israeli museum in Jerusalem inside the shrine of the book.
8.Can we read the Dead Sea Scrolls? Yes, the Dead Sea scrolls are written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and translated to many languages including English, today almost after 60 years after the great discovery it is possible to read the text online.
9.Why did the Dead Sea Scrolls survive? The Dead Sea scrolls in Qumran survived thanks to the dry climate of the Judean desert and thanks to the Essenes who hid the scrolls in caves and sealed them to protect them from wild animals, winds, and rain.
Opening hours of Qumran National Park:
April to September: 8.00 - 17.00 October to March: 8.00 - 16.00
The park is open as usual on Saturdays and holidays. Friday and holiday eve 8.00 - 15.00
Entrance fees: Adult NIS 29, Child NIS 15, Senior citizen NIS 15, Student NIS 23
Book your tour to the Qumran national park today!