“Although the fragments are small, they give us information that we didn’t have yet,” said Oren Appelman, an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The text is different from any other manuscript in the Bible.” “It is sometimes thought that the Bible is an unchanging book, but it is not,” says Jo Ozil, another researcher.
Radiocarbon dating shows that the fragments date to the 2nd century AD. The Israeli newspaper reported that researchers were able to reconstruct eleven lines of text Haaretz. Starting with Zechariah: “These are the things that you must do for you: Speak truth to each other, show true and perfect righteousness at your gates. Do not harm each other and do not covet to cheating because of all these things that I hate – says the Lord.”
It was the desert nomads who roam the Middle East who found the first Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940’s. When the significance of the manuscripts became known, archaeologists came to the fore. The last time the Israelis found Noelat was in the 1990s Pass the process.
Now, thirty years later, that discovery is there. In addition to the text snippets, archaeologists have found the mummy of a thousand-year-old child and a bamboo basket, which may be one of the oldest mummies ever found in 10,500 years. According to Mladen Popovic, professor of the Old Testament and Ancient Judaism at the University of Groningen, the discovery has accompanied an impressive process. “It is very difficult for archaeologists to go down into the caves with ropes.”
How did those scrolls get to such an inhospitable place? This has to do with the Jewish revolt that lasted from 132 to 136. “The Jews fought for independence from the Roman Empire,” the biblical scholar explains. The Romans crushed the revolt. Children, adolescents, and adults died, and many Roman soldiers died.
Families fled and took refuge in caves, where the skeletons of people who died of hunger and thirst remained. The site is aptly named “The Abomination Cave”. Popovic: ‘They took home keys and jewels, but they also took scrolls. It was clear that they were very important to them. Nowadays, you can buy a book with ten or less, but at that time it took a long time to create such a scroll manually with a length of eight to ten meters. Hence, you are not even talking about religious value.
The found manuscripts contain the religious books of the prophets Zechariah and Nahum written in Greek. At that time, Hebrew and Aramaic were spoken in Israel, as well as Greek. That was an important language in the eastern Mediterranean. It was a multilingual community.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are not uncontroversial. “In recent years, there have been scandals about the fake Dead Sea Scrolls,” says Popovich. Additionally, people are conducting illegal excavations to sell the finds on the black market. This is finally another real discovery made by professional archaeologists not in the hands of the black market.
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