Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient manuscripts that were discovered
between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves near Khirbet Qumran, on the
northwestern shores of the Dead Sea.
How old are the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Dead Sea Scrolls date from the third century BCE to the first
century CE. Their chronology is anchored in historical, paleographic,
and linguistic evidence, corroborated firmly by carbon 14 datings.
What material have the Dead Sea Scrolls been written on?
The majority of the scrolls are written on parchment, but there
are also some texts written on papyrus.
Which scroll is the longest one?
The Temple Scroll. Its present total length is 8.148 m. The overall
length of the scroll must have been at least 8.75 m. The vast majority
of the scrolls survived as fragments, from which scholars managed
to reconstruct approximately eight hundred and fifty different manuscripts
of various lengths.
In what languages have the Dead Sea Scrolls been written?
The majority of the scrolls are written in Hebrew, but there are
also texts in Aramaic and in Greek.
Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Most scholars believe that the scrolls formed the library of the
sect (the Essenes?) that lived at Qumran. However, it appears that
the members of this sect wrote only part of the scrolls themselves,
the remainder having been composed or copied elsewhere.
What kind of texts are the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The manuscripts fall into three major categories: biblical, apocryphal,
and sectarian. The biblical manuscripts comprise some two hundred
copies of biblical books, representing the earliest evidence for
the biblical text in the world. Among the apocryphal manuscripts
(works that were not included in the biblical canon) are works that
had previously been known only in translation, or that had not been
known at all. The sectarian manuscripts reflect a wide variety of
literary genres: biblical commentary, religious legal writings,
liturgical texts, and apocalyptic compositions.
Does any Qumran text mention the name of Jesus or John the Baptist?
None of the scrolls contain any explicit mention of Jesus or any
other New Testament personality.
Where are the Dead Sea Scrolls now?
The majority of the scrolls are housed in Israel (eight manuscripts
at the Shrine of the Book and all others at the Rockefeller Museum,
Jerusalem). There are also some texts in Jordan and Europe.
What Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed at the Shrine of the Book?
Check the Scrolls on Display
Where can I find the Dead Sea Scrolls bibliography?
You are welcome to visit our Bibliography
and Translations page.