20 Oct 2016
More Dead Sea Scrolls
Posted with permission
These 25 newly published fragments are just the tip of the iceberg. A scholar told Live Science that around 70 newly discovered fragments have appeared on the antiquities market since 2002. Additionally, the cabinet minister in charge of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), along with a number of scholars, believes that there are undiscovered scrolls that are being found by looters in caves in the Judean Desert. The IAA is sponsoring a new series of scientific surveys and excavations to find these scrolls before looters do.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in a series of 11 caves by the archaeological site of Qumran in the Judean Desert, near the Dead Sea. During that time, archaeologists and local Bedouins unearthed thousands of fragments from nearly 900 manuscripts.
Some of the Bedouin sold their scrolls in Bethlehem through an antiquities dealer named Khalil Iskander Shahin, who went by the name "Kando." Shahin died in 1993 and his son William Kando now runs his business and estate.
Many scholars believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in the Qumran caves around A.D. 70, during a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire. They may have been written by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes.
Martin Schøyen, a collector from Norway, owns the other batch of the recently revealed Dead Sea Scrolls. The texts from those fragments are detailed in the book "Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from The Schøyen Collection" (Bloomsbury, 2016). Also detailed in the book are other artifacts related to the scrolls, including a linen wrapper in which one of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found.
A highlight from the newly published Museum of the Bible collection is a fragment from the Book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:13-16).
The fragment tells of a man named Nehemiah who lived during the fifth century B.C., at a time after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Persian Empire had taken over Babylon's territory and the Jews, who had been forced to leave Israel by the Babylonians, were allowed to return home.
A highlight from the Schøyen Collection is a fragment containing part of the Book of Leviticus. In the fragment text, God promises that if the Sabbath is observed and the Ten Commandments are obeyed, the people of Israel will be rewarded.
"If you walk according to my laws, and keep my commandments and implement them, then I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit," part of the fragment reads (translation by Torleif Elgvin).