Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank.
The Traditional Story
Locating Qumran – the beginnings of the story
Qumran (Khirbet Qumran) is located on a dry plateau about two kilometers (a mile) inland from the northwestern shore of the cin Israel. The site was constructed sometime during the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134-104 BC and saw various phases of occupation until, in the summer of 68, Titus and his X Fretensis legion destroyed it. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the hiding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves of the sheer desert cliffs.
The period 200 BC to 200 CE was a time of history-making changes in Jewish culture and religious and political philosophy. It also harbors the beginnings of the development of Christian philosophy, culture and beliefs. For these reasons events of that period still exerts considerable influence on large segments of Western philosophy and culture today. That is what makes it such an interesting period to study.
It often comes as a surprise to laypeople to learn that ancient copies of the Bible vary, sometimes in minor ways, but sometimes, also, in important ways. Variation exists between any two manuscripts of the Bible, even when they are written in the same language. But apart from minor variations among ancient manuscripts, when all the evidence from antiquity is compared, two important traditions of the biblical text emerge. They are the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.