Cave 6Q VR; Cave 1Q's southern, lay partner

Posted by admin on March 20, 2008

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Letting Cave 11Q speak for itself . . .

Posted by shoshiepfann on March 18, 2008

Cave 11 (11Q) (map ref. 1936.1295)

Excavation: early February 1956. Report: de Vaux, RB 63 (1956) 573-74.

This cave was discovered by Bedouin in January 1956 who noticed a bat fly from a small opening in the lower cliffs. Soon after, its partially blocked entrance was opened and it was cleared of manuscripts. These manuscripts were sold to the PAM at the beginning of February (PAM 42.171-180; 43.448, 731-732, 742-745, 750, 772-824, 43.975-44.013, 44.113-117; IAA 190420-437; 204598; SHR 5002-5066, 6001-6067, 6106-6165, 6300-6386; JWS 26-59, 62-96). De Vaux and his team excavated the cave shortly after the purchase, prior to their fifth season of excavation at Qumran (which began on Feb. 18). The greatest concentration of finds were found in the backfill from the clandestine rummaging of the Bedouin treasure seekers. Aside from this, the stratified deposits were concentrated around the front of the cave and diminished as the workers excavated further away from the entrance. From the excavation, a number of objects were discovered ranging in date from the Chalcholithic period, the Early Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the first century CE. A type III “Herodian” lamp with a narrow bordered filling hole was found in the debris, indicating that cave was last visited in the later part of the first century presumably during the period of the First Revolt when many late Herodian scrolls were deposited in this cave for safe keeping. Among the epigraphic finds actually recovered by the deVaux and his team was a clump several small fragments of 11QpaleoLeva (PAM 44.086) and an unidentified, blackened, cigar-shaped document. Broken pottery of the Qumran type had been recently scattered over the floor of the cave bearing witness to the wreckless pilfering of the cave. Although no restorable cylindrical jars were found, a lid for such a jar was found in the debris near the entrance. The patterns of deterioration on certain of the scrolls (especially 11Q Psalms a) suggest that some of the scrolls, at least, in this cave were stored standing on end in jars similar to the well preserved scrolls cave 1Q. As in cave 1, dozens of fragments of untinted linen cloth were discovered with indigo lines. However unlike those which were used to cover the scrolls in cave 1 which were made of unbleached linen, nearly all of the the linen cloth fragments of cave 11 were artificially bleached white. (see KQAF II ...)

Whose library?

The group that best suits this library: Should be a sufficiently large group with a strong ideology. Not likely the Sicarii since after 66 they were limited to Masada. Not John of Gischala since he and his followers were limited to Jerusalem after his arrival there in 67 CE.

Best candidates are the Zealots 1) although they were limited to Jerusalem until 70 many of the scrolls are from the period leading up to the destruction of jerusalem and they are understood to pass close by as they fled Jerusalem (on their way to the Jungle of the Jordan where they were finally prusued and desimated by Roman legionaries), 2) priestly character since the protection of the temple and its purity was high on the priority list (three copies of the Temple Scroll), 3) the bleached white textiles presuppose a priestly core or hierarchy of the group, 4) Targum of Job (connected in the Rabbinic Literature with the temple but, 5) the lack of legendary texts generally considered popular and an encouragement among lay people since these texts often are written to praise lay people who were recipients of Divine revelation and who faithfully and courageously participated in the carrying out of the Divine will. This likely indicates the a non lay group at the core and the founding traditions. Hierocracy 6) not likely Essene/Yahad sectarians since no such scrolls are found there with any certitude (also Ben Sira, lacking in other Yahad caves, is quoted in 11Q Psalms a) 7) not likely Shimon bar Giora’s group since 11Q has a priestly character.

Objects of the cave 11Q.

Gr 11Q-1: lid. Gr 11Q-2: fragment of an iron blade. Gr 11Q-3: copper buckle. Gr 11Q-4: iron chisel. Gr 11Q-5: lamp. Gr 11Q-6: iron pick. Gr 11Q-7: juglet. Gr 11Q-8: lamp. Gr 11Q-9: two fragments of hide (skin). Gr 11Q-10: iron rod. Gr 11Q-11: iron key. Gr 11Q-12: glass bead. Gr 11Q-13: part of small jar. Textiles: Many; akin to textiles from “8Q” (actually survey cave Q8 =3Q). Dissimilar to those of Cave 1Q. KQAF II pp. 265f.

From the Bedouin, 9 biblical manuscripts (including 11QpaleoLeva), 1 targum, 2 apocryphal or pseudepigraphic texts, and 8 sectarian documents were received.

11q-chart.jpg

11Q Manuscripts: 31 Mss - 10 Biblical (incl. 2 paleoHebrew: Leviticus & unidentified text; 1 targum of Job), 0 phylactery, 1 Jub, 0 Giants, 1 New Jerusalem, 1 Song of the Sabbath Sacrifice; 2 Yahad/Sectarian? M?, S?. Others, 0 apocryphons, 1 apocryphal Psalms, 0 Calendar, 2 Hymns; 1 cryptic text; Melchizedek (9 poorly defined); [NB, all parchment; SOS, Melchizedek, 3 Temple Scrolls, (Sefer) HaMilhamah]. Zealot? Period IIb

Priestly teachers kit: Lev, Temple, Melchizedek, Jub, NJ, M (priests in battle); Song of the Sabbath Sacrifice: liturgy, angels behind the events in battle formation.

Again, like Cave 3 the manuscripts are quite late, primarily from the first century C.E. The material culture of cave 3, cave 11, ( and the surrounding non-scroll caves confine the latest deposition of manuscripts to the late, leaning toward the second half of the first century C.E. The non-Essene but priestly nature of the material from cave 11 can argueably connect this northern cluster of caves with the fleeing Zealots from Jerusalem in the year 70.

It is the largest of all of the caves from the cliffs of Qumran. The scrolls were evidently stashed in a limited area not far from the entrance.

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Cave 11 VR; Cave 3's northern, priestly partner

Posted by admin on March 17, 2008

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If we would allow Cave 3 to speak for itself . . .

Posted by admin on March 14, 2008

Cave 3Q, located in the same cave cluster as 11Q, is of non-Essene, lay character (including a Lamentations megilla). It is likely connected with the Zealots, the self-appointed protectors of the Temple and its treasures, since it contained the Copper Scroll, which enumerates the locations where priestly paraphernalia, Temple treasures, and tithe jars were hidden.

Also all manuscripts from cave 3 were written within the confines of the first century C.E., quite distinctive from the scrolls from the other cave clusters (i.e., caves 1Q-2Q; 4Q-10Q) which contain substantial numbers of scrolls from the 1st cent. B.C.E. and even the 2nd cent. B.C.E.

3q-chart.jpg

15 Mss -3 Biblical 1 Jub, 1 Giants, 1 Biblical commentary?, 1 “sectarian” document. Others, 1? TJudah? (olim apocryphon (testament)), 1 Hymn (7 poorly defined); [NB, all parchment except Copper Scroll; no explicit sectarian writings, the one commentary is too fragmentary to help define its source. No paleoHebrew, no phylacteries, no calendars; no New Jerusalem]

Whose library?

Allegro believed that the Copper Scroll was a product of the Zealots in: Allegro, J. M. 1960. The Treasure of the Copper Scroll. Garden City, NY. 2d ed. 1964.

He may be right. By far the Copper Scroll is the most important scroll that can help to define the nature of the group that deposited the scrolls in this cave. The Copper Scroll lists the hiding places where various temple vessels and precious metals were hidden from either John of Gischala or the Romans (or both). The Zealots who alone controlled the temple, its vessels and its treasury evidently decided to hide the items rather than allow them to be looted as they retreated from either the Romans or, most immediately, from John of Gischala. Curiously, none of the major gold furnishings or vessels were among the vessels listed in the Copper Scroll. This however makes a certain amount of sense since gold was not useful for forming weaponry for John’s purposes. In favor of John, since only the vessels made from non precious metals were in danger of being melted down by him only these were among the metal items deemed necessary to be hidden from him (along with gold and silver of the temple’s treasury which would have been saved from been pilfered).

Other items of the Copper Scroll which were of a priestly nature including vestments and tithe vessels provide another link with its priestly owners and the temple. The combined value of the precious metals were worth, in today's standards, in excess 3 billion dollars. The could represent the treasury of a small nation like Judea but certainly not the property of any single social or religious group. If the Zealot suggestion is correct, this is likely the only surviving work that Zealot party produced during their short 3 to 4 year history.

Of the objects: there were fragments of at least twenty cylindrical/tithe jars (or their lids) in this cave, primarily made of Jerusalem clay (cf. , (more than any other cave, aside from Cave 1Q). One jar was inscribed with the letter "teth" which was a known mark on tithe jars also found at Masada and discribed in the Mishna (see Kelei Dema': Tithe Jars, Scroll Jars and Cookie Jars). One mid to late first century "Herodian lamp" was found. A javelin or lance head was also found in the debris of the cave. All of these finds could be considered consistent with Allegro's Zealots. However, in order to further advance this theory, more evidence would have to be culled from the surrounding caves that, at that time still remained unexcavated, including nearby cave 11Q.

[In any case there are certain other groups that would appear unlikely: Not likely the Sicarii since after 66 they were limited to Masada. Not John of Gischala since he and his followers were limited to Jerusalem after his arrival there in 67 CE. Not likely Simon Bar Giora group nor the Essenes since they did not have access to the items mentioned in the Copper Scroll: namely temple's treasury and temple vessels.]

 


The 56th Anniversary of the discovery of Cave 3

Posted by shoshiepfann on March 14, 2008

Cave 3 (3Q; a.k.a. Survey Cave G-8) (map ref. 1935.1310)

Excavation: March 14-25, 1952. Final excavation report: de Vaux, DJD III.

“19/3/1952. The cave in its original shape was very large, about 10 m. wide, but the ceiling had completely collapsed except in the rear part where one chamber, about 3 x 2 m in size, remained. In front of this chamber was a large quantity of broken jars and lids mixed with debris from the ceiling without any earthen fill. This layer was 30-40 cm. thick. In the rear chamber of the cave were stratified layers of pebbles with some fragments of fabric and darkened leather, along with some inscribed fragments. Very few potsherds in this area. This chamber is extended by a narrow passage and rises toward a cavity nearly completely filled by rats’ nests containing pieces of cloth, bits of leather and one inscribed fragment. Just in the north corner of the chamber, two inscribed copper scrolls had been placed one on top of the other against the rock wall (DJD III, pl. III, 2). In front of the heap of pottery, about 10 meters from west to east extends a fine argilacious deposit containing some potsherds, which is covered by the debris from the ceiling. We can’t say what the early entrance was like, but the cave (its ceiling) was very low and, while the jars were still intact, they must have nearly touched the ceiling.

Possibility of habitation: Doubtful.

Non-catalogued pottery: fragments of one Qumran-type cylindrical jar.”

R. DE VAUX, “Exploration of the Region of Qumran”, RB 60 (1953) p. 555.

 

copper-scrolls-in-situ.jpg

The "two copper scrolls" in situ

 

Objects of cave 3Q.

GQ 8-1 through 3: lids. GQ 8-4: upper part of jug. GQ 8-5: upper part of jug. GQ 8-6: lid. GQ 8-7: jar. GQ 8-8 through 9: jars. GQ 8-10: inscribed jar. GQ 8-11: jar. GQ 8-12: Herodian lamp. GQ 8-13 through 29: lids. Textiles: Many; akin to textiles from 11Q. Dissimilar to those of Cave 1Q. KQAF II pp. 265f.

This is the only “scroll cave” discovered during the cave survey of March 1952 (PAM 41.960). Excavations uncovered 29 registered pottery items, textiles and at least 9 manuscripts (PAM 40.406-406A; 41.563-566; 42.554, 576-577, 593, 955-956) as well as the “Copper Scroll” (3Q15; PAM 40.092-111; 41.958, 42.112-117, 42.977-43.000). See chap. II. Also from excavation: objects (PAM 42.654).


Cave 3Q VR

Posted by admin on March 13, 2008

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56 years ago: The Qumran Cliffs Survey

Posted by admin on March 13, 2008

56 years ago this week, along with the excavation of cave 2, a survey of the cliffs (8 km long, i.e., running 4 km north and south of Wadi Qumran) was carried out under the direction of R. de Vaux of the Ecole Archéologique Française and William Reed, director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (now known as the Albright Institute). These were assisted by D. Barthélemy, J. T. Milik, M. Henri de Contenson, all of the Ecole Archéologique Française, and 3 Jordanian assistants. These 8, supervising by 24 Ta‘amireh Bedouin, conducted excavations along the cliffs running 4 kilometers northward from the site of Qumran to Hadjar al-Asba‘* and 4 kilometers southward to Ras Feshkha. Through 230 soundings, 40 sites and caves containing archaeological remains were found and excavated. Each was at first assigned a number connected to the supervisor A-1, A-2 ... , B-1, B-2 ... etc. Subsequently these caves were renumbered as a group, North to South on the map: Gr. 1 through Gr. 40. Twenty-six of these caves yielded pottery identical to that of cave 1 and Kh. Qumran. Only one cave during this survey yielded new manuscripts, Gr. 8 (later enumerated with the other scroll caves as "Cave 3Q", numbered according to chronological order in which the scroll caves were discovered). The dig was stopped due to heat (BASOR 135 [Oct. 1954] 8-13; RB 60 [1953] 540-561; PAM 40.650-656). Excavation: Mar. 10-29, 1952. Final excavation report: de Vaux, DJD III, pp. 3-36. A third system of enumeration has arisen with the cave surveys and excavations of Y. Patrich between 1984 and 1991 for which we will use the numbers PQ1–PQ24.

*Hadjar al-Asba‘ is the Arabic equivalent of Hebrew "Even ha-Bohan" of Joshua 15:6, 18:17. The Bible indicates that this was a boundary marker between the territory of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The Caves of Qumran can be divided into five distinct clusters:

CAVE CLUSTER OF THE LIMESTONE CLIFFS:

CAVE CLUSTER OF THE NORTHERN CLIFFS: Caves 3Q and 11Q; Survey Caves GQ1–11; Caves A and B; PQ13, PQ24. The northern cliffs lie between the wadi that divides the cliffs two kilometers to the north of Qumran and the Rijm al-Asbah “the rock of the thumb,” about one kilometer further north.

CAVE CLUSTER OF THE CENTRAL CLIFFS: Caves 1Q, 2Q and 6Q; Survey Caves GQ12–21. This cluster stretches for one-half kilometer along the cliffs, about one and one-half kilometers to the north of Qumran.

CAVE CLUSTER OF QUMRAN’S WADI AND SOUTHERN CLIFFS: Survey Caves 6Q,

GQ22–32, “Christmas Cave”. The caves of the southern cliffs lie along a one-half kilometer stretch south of the Wadi Qumran.

CAVE CLUSTER OF THE EIN FESHKHA CLIFFS: Survey Caves GQ33–40. This stretch of cliffs begins 2.75 kilometers south of Qumran and extends southward for 2.5 kilometers, ending at Ras Feshkha, with the spring of Ein Feshkha at the center.

CAVE CLUSTER OF THE MARL TERRACE ADJACENT TO THE QUMRAN SITE:

SOUTHWEST SPUR: Caves 4Qa, 4Qb, 5Q and 10Q. The complex is located 80 meters

southwest of the buildings of Qumran on a spur of the marl formation separated from the site by a narrow ravine. The Bedouin discovered caves 4Qa and 4Qb simultaneously, with the result that the fragments from the two caves arrived at the museum mixed and indistinguishable according to cave. Thus these adjacent but separate caves were delineated “4Q” by de Vaux with regard to the manuscripts and other items collected by the Bedouin. However, when describing the findings from his own excavations, de Vaux was able to distinguish them as “4Qa” and “4Qb”.

SOUTHERN SPUR: Caves 7Q, 8Q and 9Q. The complex is located at the southern end of the same marl terrace, 90 meters directly south of the building complex of Qumran and connected to it by the southern enclosure. The three caves, whose roofs had collapsed, are accessible only from within the confines of the enclosure wall.

Pottery and Dating of the Caves

The caves in the cliffs contained material from the Chalcolithic, Iron II, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods. The most substantial and widespread remains were from the first century CE including the typical cylindrical jars and, less commonly, lamps, cooking pots, tableware and of course the scrolls themselves. Many of the caves were visited on more than one occasion providing remains from more than one period in the same cave. Most periods represented by the remains from the cliff’s caves have counterparts in the stratified remains of Kh Qumran.

In certain cases, the date of the remains in the cliffs reflect a time of hiding and transition in the occupancy of the site. Very few however contained scrolls.

 

caveclusterscolor.jpg


If we would allow Cave 2 to speak for itself ...

Posted by shoshiepfann on March 11, 2008

Cave 2 (2Q; a.k.a. Survey Cave 19) (map ref. 1933.1284)

In February of 1952 Bedouin discovered that this cave contained numerous scroll fragments and offered them for sale. At that time deVaux was excavating the caves at Wadi Murabba‘at and was notified that a new cave was discovered “in the vicinity of the first cave” at Qumran. The Bedouin, realizing by now that even the smallest manuscript fragment might be valuable, left nothing but pieces of 3 jars for deVaux and his team to find when they arrived at the cave. The scroll fragments that the Bedouin discovered were fewer than in the first cave (1Q) and no complete scrolls were found. However it was the discovery of this new cave that alerted the authorities to the possibility that more caves containing manuscripts might exist in the cliffs of the Qumran area. This led to the cave survey of March 1952. Thirty-three manuscripts were recovered from cave 2Q. These include: 17 Biblical (incl. 1 paleoHebrew: Leviticus), 0 phylactery, 1 Ben Sira, 2 Jubilees, 1 Giants, 1 New Jerusalem; 0 Yahad/Sectarian. Others, 2 apocryphons, 1 apocryphal Prophecy, 0 Calendar; 1 Juridical text (7 poorly defined); (PAM 40.553-558; 639-641; 41.390-391; 42.554-555, 595, 948, 952, 954, 957-960, 964-965; 43.755).

Paleographic history of the 2Q collection:

cave-2-stats-chart.png

The paleographic dates of this library range from c125 BCE to c70 CE. The prime period of collecting ranges from 50 BCE to 50 CE with spikes at two points. There is a general consistency in scribal technique and material found among the manuscripts of this cave that would support the view of a rather consistent care in building this library over time, more so than in many of the other caves. (This type of consistency is only more pronounced among the manuscripts of cave 11Q, however, in that case, the period of collecting was much shorter.)

Remarkable characteristics of the collection:

Of special interest is that all were of parchment (no papyrus). Of 25 definable mss 17 are of Biblical books. This is by far, the highest percentage (68%) of Biblical manuscripts from any of the caves. As in other caves, the Books of Moses are present but there are twelve copies of the five books which represents nearly half of all definable manuscripts. Of the Prophets only Jeremiah was found. Of the writings: the Psalms, Job and two copies of the Book of Ruth were found. In common with other caves the ever popular trio, Jubilees (2 copies), Giants and New Jerusalem was present.

However there are a number of distinctive traits:

It is notable that the cave contained no sectarian documents, no liturgies and no rule books. Of the four copies of the Book of Ruth extant at Qumran two of these were found in this cave. (These are pocket scrolls "megillot", 7 to 10 lines per column, carried and read by lay people during festivals.) This may underly a more non priestly nature of the group that hid the scrolls where apocryphal stories or legends are retold. The Davidic dynasty is upheld (apocryphon of David). The fact that the Messianic line's progenitoress was a gentile woman was not considered scandalous but was rather confirmed by the 2 copies of the Book of Ruth. The solar calendar that unites the other caves was not found. On the contrary, in this cave was found the only copy of the book of Ben Sirah from the caves of Qumran, a text that upholds the lunar calendar.

If anything can be gained from studying the prophetic materials of the cave, a prophetic apocryphon was found. This, along with the book of Jeremiah, a prophet and priest of the disenfranchised family of Abiathar, could, not unlike other movements of the time, support the leanings of a counter movement to the administration and temple authorities in Jerusalem.

----------

Whose "library"?

Is there a first century group that best suits the contents of this collection or library? This is perhaps the least idiosyncratic of all of the caves and sites producing scrolls from the Judean Desert. However, after a process of elimination, there is one group in particular that this fragmentary library seems to best fit based upon the following features: 1) It should be a sufficiently large group which harbours a strong ideology. 2) probably not Essene/Yahad sectarians since no such scrolls were found (on the contrary Ben Sira was found). 2) Not likely the Sicarii since after 66 they were limited to Masada. 3) Not John of Gischala since he was limited to Jerusalem after his arrival in 67. 4) Not the Zealots since they were limited to the Jerusalem temple until 70. However, by default, it could potentially suit a group like that of Simon Bar Giora which had 1) a strong Biblically based ideology 2) his group spread throughout the Judean wilderness according to Josephus (especially in adjacent Acrabatene) to the north of Qumran 3) library contains books fitting for a lay movement (legendary texts including parts of Ben Sira and no priestly themes) 4) with potentially lay and proselyte background (two pocket copies, megillot, of the Book of Ruth); N.B.,the name "bar Giora" literally means "son of a proselyte" 5) Davidic themes as this Shimon was likened to by Josephus (David apocryphon? and Ruth).

Based upon these features, as limited in scope as they are, I would tentatively put forward a group like, or to be identified with, that of Simon bar Giora's. The time of the collection's deposition might then coincide with the abandonment and destruction of the site of Qumran by rebels during the summer of 68. About which read the new Encyclopedia Judaica article on "Qumran":

"Period IIb: During the last years of Period II (ca. 66–68 CE), during a period of social upheaval, political strife and war, Qumran was taken over by another group, likely revolutionaries. Hoards of Revolt coins, stoneware, new pottery forms (differing in form and proportions from the communal pantries of loci 89 and 114), and light weapons (including knives and arrow heads) were recovered from this period, which preceded the Roman occupation of the site."

Excavation: March 12-14, 1952. Final excavation report: de Vaux, DJD III, pp. 10-12.

Objects of cave 2Q: Only broken fragments of Qumran type pottery, including jars, were found but in the dumps of the clandestine diggers. Textiles: none were recorded (in spite of suggestions otherwise). Manuscripts: 33 Mss - [NB, all parchment; of 25 definable mss 17 are Biblical but no sectarian documents; Ben Sira & 2 Ruth]


Cave 2 VR (Virtual Reality)

Posted by admin on March 06, 2008

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In December 1951, four years after the discovery of Cave 1, Roland de Vaux connected its manuscript remains to the nearby site of Khirbet Qumran when he found one of the unique cylindrical jars, typical of Cave 1, embedded in the floor of the site.

The power of this suggestion was such that, from that point on, as each successive Judean Desert cave containing first century scrolls was discovered, they, too, were assumed to have originated from the site of Qumran. Excavations at the site of Qumran appeared to confirm the communal and religious nature of the inhabitants, with its revelation of numerous immersion pools, large community pantries, and abundant scribal implements, accompanied by a virtually all male cemetery. All of this was considered compelling evidence for connecting this site not only with the scrolls from the caves but also with the Essenes described by Josephus, Philo and Pliny the Elder.

For us scholars, Cave 1 was the pace setter. It became the cave against which every subsequently discovered cave was to be compared. But what if Cave 1 had not been the first to be discovered?

During the first three months of 1952 more scrolls were discovered in what are known now as Caves 2 and 3.

If these alone had been discovered:

1) these two caves, containing three pocket-sized megillot (lay pocket scrolls) between them and no liturgies (associated with priests), the manuscript collection would then have appeared to have more of a lay character than a priestly one.

2) With no scrolls that contained the key "Yahad" terms "Teacher of Righteousness", "Wicked Priest", "Man of Lies", "Sons of Light"/"Sons of Darkness", "El" (for God), "Belial" (for "Satan") etc., these cave would have a rather unremarkable character (with the exception of the Copper Scroll).

3) No case could have been made for these caves to be connected with the Essenes of Philo, Josephus and Pliny the Elder.

cave2qclose.jpg

Cave 2Q at the top

Cave 2 produced more than 30 mss. Notably more than half were Biblical books including, surprisingly, 2 megillot of the Book of Ruth. And, as we shall see, like Cave 11 and Masada, it contained significant parts of Ben Sira. Nothing, however, seemed out of the ordinary except that no Yahad documents were found there. The scrolls of that cave merely added to the expanding library.

outsidecave3.jpg

Outside Cave 3Q

Cave 3, with only 15 identifiable scrolls, provided various Biblical Books, in particular a megilla of Lamentations. Although there were no obvious scrolls of the Yahad, there was what appeared to be the beginning of a commentary on the book of Isaiah, which was enough to convince many that this was another pesher on the prophets, and the Book of Jubilees, creating a direct link to Cave 1. In addition, Cave 3 contained an odd copper treasure map whose contents would remain concealed for several years.

We still had no compelling reason to believe anything other than that the scrolls from all three caves were somehow closely linked, with the unusual scrolls being simply anomalies which would serve to further enlighten us on the character of the group (and not yet groups who produced them.)

Six months later, the relative scarcity of links between these two cave with respect to the Yahad, was soon dismissed with the discovery of four additional caves which provided strong links with Cave 1 and the Yahad

Caves 4, 5, 6....


Cave 1 VR (Virtual Reality)

Posted by admin on February 28, 2008

In the forthcoming Second Temple Period Educational Suite, you and your students will be able to walk from from Qumran to the caves, and from one cave to the other virtually.The following publication has described the planned Edusuite.

Pfann, Stephen J. and Stephen Pfann, Jr. "Educational Suite and Database on Qumran, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of the Second Temple Period." In Bio- and Material Cultures at Qumran: Papers from a COST Action G8 Working Group Meeting Held in Jerusalem, Israel on 22-23 May 2005, ed. Jan Gunneweg, Charles Greenblatt, and Annemie Adriaens, 251-264. Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IRB, 2006.

Below is a small sample.


Since when was Cave 1, actually Cave 1?

Posted by admin on February 28, 2008

What is now known as Qumran Cave 1 today, was not always called by that name. 61 years ago when the cave was first discovered it quickly became known as the "Grotte des manuscrits" or "the manuscripts cave". And indeed it was the "Scroll Cave" par excellance. It had it all. Biblical Scrolls. Sectarian Scrolls. Commentaries. Hymns, calendars and rule books. Images of the future battle and pseudepigraphic works discovered in their original languages for the first time.

There appeared to be a single copy of each of the essential volumes of one curious group's library. Eleazar Sukenik first suggested the identification of the owners of these scrolls with a rather monastic Jewish order known as the Essenes, an identification subsequently affirmed by Roland de Vaux and a long list of others. Though some remained skeptical of this identification, subsequent discoveries worked in favor of the growing consensus.

It took a Bedouin shepherd looking for a stray sheep to discover the cave. He tossed a rock through a hole and this led to the most important set of manuscript discovery of the century.

Six years after the shepherd Muhammed edh-Dhib dicovered the "Grotte des manuscrits", Bedouin discovered a second cave with scrolls a couple of hundreds to the south. It is only then that the first cave became "Cave 1".

Try your hand at discovering a scroll cave.

Use your cursor to gaze around the rock faces for the cave. When you find the right hole, the cursor will change, you can click then and  go inside. Use your shift and control keys to zoom in and zoom out.