January 23, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

More Dead Sea Scrolls Found

Two separate articles discuss new findings about the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, the most significant archaeological find of the 20th century.

Ancient Text Pieced Together

More than half a century after they were discovered, some 60 tiny fragments of text from a cave have been pieced together and deciphered. The Telegraph UK reports that researchers from Haifa University figured out they all belonged to a single scroll. Parts have been deciphered. What does it say?

The latest deciphered scroll contains references to the 364-day calendar used by the sect, as opposed to the lunar calendar used in Jewish religious practice today.

It also refers to annual wine and olive harvest festivals no longer observed in Judaism.

Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, where Dead Sea Scrolls are exhibited. Photo by David Coppedge.

Interestingly, a student of Bible dating assumed a 364-day calendar for Jews in pre-Christian times, and got many remarkable correlations of Old Testament dates that had been puzzling to chronologists. Although CEH cannot vouch for the conclusions, you can inspect Jim Liles’ 12-year research project at TheSacredCalendar.com.

New Cave Has Possible New Manuscripts

It’s remarkable that more caves may hold textual treasures in the wilderness of Israel so many years after the first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Biblical archaeologist Randall Price and Oren Gutfeld believe that they have found a 12th cave used to store scrolls. Live Science reports that it looks empty on first glance, but the two are excavating the site because they found some artifacts present that suggest earlier use.

In 2017, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 12th cave, though they said the cave had been looted in the mid-20th century. Inside the cave, they discovered only one blank scroll, along with the remains of jars, cloth and a leather strap that would have been used to wrap and store the scrolls, according to the team, led by Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology.

Gutfeld and Randall Price, of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, are now leading an archaeology team that is excavating this newfound cave.

“Dr. Gutfeld and I have been at Qumran since December, working with our team on excavating a new cave in the Qumran area,” Price told Live Science in an email. No other details about this “new cave” have been released, but the team will release a statement soon, Price said.

Archaeologists must be secretive because of the danger of looters. The article

says this is an ongoing risk:

In 2016, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that it is carrying out a program to find and excavate any undiscovered caves in the Judaean Desert. In the past few years, there have been a number of instances in which looters have been caught carrying the remains of scrolls.

Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority say it’s possible that more scrolls will be found in caves that are yet to be discovered.

Randall Price is author of The Stones Cry Out, a layman’s guide to archaeological findings that corroborate the Bible. Price is careful to distinguish what archaeology can and cannot do. He has also participated in excavations on Mt. Ararat, but no certain remains of an ark have been yet found.

Inside Cave One, where the Isaiah Scroll was found in a clay jar. Photo by David Coppedge.

One of the most important implications of the Dead Sea Scrolls was to confirm the accuracy of the Masoretic Text, which dates to almost a thousand years later and was the only basis for translations of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (although the Greek Septuagint provided some corroboration). Most of these scrolls, including the great Isaiah Scroll found in Cave One, were inscribed before Christ. This means that the stunning passage about the ‘Suffering Servant’ in Isaiah 53, which could hardly refer to anyone than Jesus Christ, could not have been written after Christ as some kind of emendation of Isaiah after Christ suffered, died, and rose from the dead as described in the chapter. Indeed, the Isaiah Scroll, now housed in the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum in Jerusalem, indicates that Isaiah was a real eyewitness of the events during Hezekiah’s reign, some 700 years before Christ. Read that chapter here and ponder its significance in light of these amazing archaeological discoveries.

 

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