Cave 6Q on its own

Cave 6Q (a.k.a. Survey Cave-GQ 26 [olim D 14]) (map ref. 1932.1276)

M. BAILLET, J. T. MILIK AND R. DE VAUX, The ‘Small Caves of Qumran’, DJD III Texts (Oxford, 1962) pp. 10 and 26, as follows (translated from the French):

At the same time as cave 4Q or a little earlier, the Bedouins noticed and emptied a hole in the rock at the bottom of the cliff. This is north of the entrance to the gorge of Wady Qumran, below the path that runs along the ancient aqueduct and lower than the marl terrace, which is deeply eroded at this location. The Bedouin have produced a jar and a bowl and inscribed fragments the main part of the which was given to the Palestine Archeological Museum since September 13, 1952. However, since the deposit had been identified by us after those of 4Q and 5Q caves, this cave received the name “6Q”. A search in the rubble of the illegal excavation provided some insignificant pieces of leather and papyrus. Because this cave is located in the rocky area , it was included in the inventory of the archaeological caves of the cliff, as No. 26, above, p. 10. The texts are published by M. Baillet, DJD III, pp. 105-41.

Profile of Paleographic dates for the 6Q manuscripts:


<>This collection of manuscripts mainly range from the early 1st cent BCE to mid 1st cent CE. (This is with the exception of 4 older, well kept? Biblical mss). ) Of special interest this collection is mainly papyrus (18 papyrus, 13 parchment}.

Altogether there were 31 Mss –6 to 9 Biblical (incl. 2 paleoHebrew: Gen & Leviticus), 1 Giants,; 2 Yahad/Sectarian: Damascus Document, Alegory of the Vine. Others, 1 apocryphon, 3 apocryphal Prophecies, 1 Sapiential or Hymnic?, 1 Calendar. (However, no Jubilees, no New Jerusalem).

Whose Library?

Cave 6Q contains books that typify it as a lay library. It contains the Damascus Document whose message is known to apply to lay members of the group. Cave 6Q has a poket megillah of the Song of Songs, which like other Biblical pocket scrolls (e.g., Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes) is associated with lay participation in one of the yearly festivals. It also has legendary texts/apocryphas which are often found in lay contexts, presumably since they bolster lay participation in the divine plan. The Book of Giants provides the story of the fall of the Angels, and all mankind, including lay people. (There are also no liturgical scrolls which would normally be connected with priestly libraries.)

Cave 6Q also contains no other doctrinal book but the Damascus Document which is patently linked to the Moreh HaTsedeq (Teacher of Rightousness). Thus Cave 6Q would best fit the profile of an Essene Library.

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