Dead Sea Scrolls

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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MISCELLANEOUS FOR SALE THE FOUR DEAD SEA SCROLLS Biblical manuscripts dating back to the 200 B.C. are for sale. This would be an ideal gift to an educational or religious institutional by an individual or group. Box 206 Wall Street Journal.

This was what the back page of the Wall Street Journal read on June 1, 1954. (Shanks, 1992) These "Dead Sea Scrolls" had been in the news since the early 1950's but their creditability and ownership was still, at this time, under investigation. The individual selling them, Metropolitan Samuel, wanted to get rid of them soon before his reputation had completely vanished. (Thompson, 1997) This ad raised many questions among the businessmen and families though. What were they exactly? What did they read? Why were they for sale? Who found them? Where had they been found? How did they stay intact so long? These people had seen them on television before, but the idea of seeing it next to car ads and personals made them seem more real and accessible to the regular person.

During the next 45 years, people, archaeologists, scientists and religious groups would study to try to answer and understand all these questions.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are scrolls written over 2000 years ago. Using Carbon-14 dating, archeologists produced the age between 168 B.C. and 100 A.D., a two-hundred-year margin of error. A small group of scrolls were written about 100 years before these dates and the rest were written between 30 and 68 A.D. Interestingly enough, 70 A.D. is when the Romans, after years of fighting, destroyed and burned the area, dispersing its citizens. (Thompson, 1997) What was going on in Israel while these scrolls were being written plays a major role in who might have written them and why they did this. There...