Abstract: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls


In 1947, A Bedouin boy accidentally discovered ancient scrolls dating to about the time of Jesus in a cave on the NW shore of the Dead Sea. The remains of over 900 different scrolls were eventually found in 11 caves in the vicinity, which have come to be called the Dead Sea Scrolls/ They include Biblical books and related works (such as Hebrew Bible, Targums, Pesharim, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha) and literature describing the beliefs and practices of the Jewish sect that deposited the scrolls in the caves (e.g. the Damascus Document, the Manual of Discipline, the War Scroll). Many scholars identify this sect with the ancient Essenes described by Flavius Josephus, Philo Judaeus and Pliny the Elder. At least some of the members of this group lived at the site of Qumran which is adjacent to the caves where the scrolls were found. This slide-illustrated lecture focuses on the archaeology of Qumran, which was excavated by Roland de Vaux in the 1950's, and the connection between the site and the scrolls from the cave.


Suggested Bibliography/Websites
James C. Vander Kam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1994)

Jodi Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 2002)