The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Discovered in 11 caves near the Dead Sea town of Khirbet Qumran, the scrolls date between 250 B.C. and 68 A.D. They consist of some 800 Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts and thousands of fragments. In 1947, two kinds of documents were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery: books from the Hebrew Bible and religious writings that describe the beliefs and practices of the Essenes. This Jewish sect is believed to have transcribed the Dead Sea Scrolls while living in Qumran. Over the centuries, several items were used to produce and preserve the handwritten Scrolls written on leather, papyrus, and copper.
This Story Box includes a collection of these major items.
1. The small clay oil lamp was used in the scriptorium to light the room where the scribes hand wrote the Scrolls. 2. A small inkwell and bamboo quill were used by Essene scribes to write on leather, papyrus, and thin copper sheets.
3. A small representation of a portion of text of the Old Testament Book of Isiah is included.
4. A miniature of the Qumran jars used to preserve the Scrolls and hide them from the Roman invasion of Qumran in 68 A.D. 5. A booklet on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes is also included.
In addition to the Dead Sea Scroll Story Box, a 5x7 Collection, DM 366 The Dead Sea Scrolls Chronology is also available. This Collection includes seven period coins from the Persian Rule to Roman Rule of Judea.
Persian Rule (536 to 330 B.C.) With the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 B.C. Persian King Cyrus the Great, ruled Judea.Persian policy of governing subject peoples in their own land and respecting the various deities worshiped in the empire. (2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2-4)
Jews that did return to Judah found their homeland impoverished. Following the relocation of populations, political control was maintained through local governors whose primary task was to ensure the payment of royal taxes. The Persians also financed the restoration of temples. Nehemiah's commission by the Persian king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem indicates the strategic importance of the province to the Persia.
With the temple in Jerulsalem as the center of the restored community, the High Priest "ruled" in the absence of a king.
During the Persian Rule, the Pentateuch and much of the prophetic literature reached their final form. Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah 56-66, Job, parts of Psalms and Proverbs, and perhaps Joel and Ecclesiastes were composed in this prolific period.
Macedonian Empire (332 to 167 B.C.) Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia in northern Greece, set out on one of the most extensive military expeditions in history in 334 B.C. His armies swept eastward, conquering the Persian Empire and eventually reaching the border of India. As part of this campaign, he captured Jerusalem in 332 B.C., ending more than two centuries of Persian rule over Judea.
Following Alexander's death in 323, his empire was divided among several of his generals. One of these, named Seleucus, governed Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and Syria. Another, named Ptolemy, governed Egypt. They established the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. In years to come, the rulers of these kingdoms would vie for control of Palestine, which lay between Syria and Egypt.
Alexander's conquests introduced Greek culture into the eastern Mediterranean world. This culture was known as "Hellenism." Cities such as Alexandria in Egypt became influential centers of Greek learning. Jews of the Diaspora, migrated to Alexandria and produced the Septuagint (the influential Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Apocrypha (found in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles).
Greek replaced Aramaic as the principal language for trade, education, and international relations.
In Judea, Jewish life revolved around two centers: the temple and the Torah. The temple was located in Jerusalem, and it remained the one place where sacrifices could be offered. There were, however, increasing numbers of local gatherings or "synagogues" where Jews could read Scripture and pray together. These synagogues helped Jews everywhere maintain a sense of community and tradition.
The Torah included the stories and laws that shaped Jewish life. Practices like circumcision, eating kosher food, and observing the Sabbath helped Jews maintain a distinctive identity under Hellenistic rule. The Torah, of course, was written in Hebrew.
In the second century B.C. Judea was governed by Alexander's successors, the Seleucid kings of Syria.
Greek conflict with the Jews began during the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV. Antiochus pressured Jewish people to abandon their traditional ways. He forbade circumcision and turned the Jerusalem temple into a temple to Zeus.
Hasmonean Dynasty (167 to 37 B.C.) Antiochus's policies provoked a military response from some Jews. The principal leader of the revolt was a man named Judah, nicknamed "Maccabeus" or "the hammer." Accounts of the conflict, known as the Maccabean revolt, appear in the books of Maccabees, which are part of the Apocrypha.
Judah Maccabee's troops captured the Jerusalem temple in 164 B.C.E. They celebrated the restoration of temple worship with a new festival called "Dedication" or "Hanukkah." Fighting against the Seleucids continued. The Maccabees gained complete control of the region and established an independent Jewish kingdom that continued until the Romans conquered the region in 63 B.C. The Hasmoneans vigorously extended their influence by capturing the region of Idumea to the south and converting its inhabitants to Judaism. Some Jews objected to the way the priests were administering temple life. They formed a separate community at Qumran near the Dead Sea, where they compiled the library of Jewish texts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Herodian Dynasty (37 B.C. 4 B.C.) The Romans conquered Jerusalem in 63 B.C.E. This brought the region under Roman control, using local leaders to govern. The most famous was a military commander named Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.E.). Herod transformed the country. He built the port of Caesarea on the coast and a temple to Augustus in Samaria. He remodeled the Jerusalem temple and next to it built the Antonia fortress, a Roman military installation.
After Herod's death in 4 B.C.E., his son Herod Antipas ruled Galilee in the north. He is the Herod mentioned in accounts of Jesus' ministry. Another son ruled the south until 6 C.E., when the Romans began sending their own governors to Judea. Pontius Pilate was one of these. The Romans used local agents to collect taxes. The agents made a profit by adding their own fees, which made most people resent them.
Roman Judea (4 B.C to 135 B.C.) The Jewish people administered their own internal affairs. The high priests oversaw worship in the temple and the council or Sanhedrin adjudicated matters of Jewish law. Pilgrims throughout the empire came to worship in the Jerusalem temple.
One Jewish group was the Pharisees, who adopted the highest standards for purity in their homes. Devoted interpreters of Jewish law, they also valued the prophets, other writings, and oral tradition. They believed there would be a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees were a priestly group that used the law but not the other writings and did not believe in resurrection. Essenes lived in separate communities, including the one where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. They followed distinctive standards for purity and considered the temple leadership to be corrupt. Zealots sought to regain Jewish independence from Rome.
Resistance to Roman rule led to open conflict in 66 C.E. War raged for several years until the Romans recaptured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in 70 C.E. Afterward, some Jews formed an academy near the Mediterranean coast. They developed interpretations of the law that allowed Jewish life to continue even though temple sacrifice was not possible. By the second century C.E., they identified the books in the current Hebrew Bible or Protestant Old Testament to be authoritative Scripture. A second Jewish revolt against Roman rule occurred in 132-135 C.E. under the leadership of Simon "bar Kochba." This also resulted in Jewish defeat, and Roman rule over the region continued in subsequent centuries.
Essene Community (300 B.C. To 70 A.D.) A large portion of what we know about the Essene Community comes from manuscripts and documents found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Materials include these writings, a book of the rule of the community or “The Manual of Discipline,” which talks about how one goes about getting into and becoming a part of the elect community. We also have “The War Scroll,” an Essene battle plan for the war that will occur at the end of the present evil age. Also found was"The Copper Scroll" with the letters incised, in Hebrew, into soft, burnished copper.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the best archaeological finds of all time. Found in 11 caves near the Dead Sea town of Khirbet Qumran, the scrolls date between 250 B.C. and 68 A.D. They consist of some 800 Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts and countless pieces. In 1947, 2 sort of documents were discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery: books from the Hebrew Bible and religious works that describe the beliefs and practices of the Essenes. This Jewish sect is thought to have transcribed the Dead Sea Scrolls while staying in Qumran. Over the centuries, numerous items were used to produce and preserve the handwritten Scrolls composed on leather, papyrus, and copper. This Story Box includes a collection of these major items. 1. The small clay oil lamp was used in the scriptorium to light the space where the scribes hand composed the Scrolls. 2. A small inkwell and bamboo quill were used by Essene scribes to write on leather, papyrus, and thin copper sheets. 3. A small representation of a portion of text of the Old Testament Book of Isiah is consisted of. 4. A mini of the Qumran containers used to preserve the Scrolls and conceal them from the Roman invasion of Qumran in 68 A.D. 5. A a booklet on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes. In addition to the Dead Sea Scroll Story Box, a 5x7 Collection, DM 336 The Dead Sea Scrolls Chronology is likewise offered. The Collection includes seven period coins from the Persian Rule to Roman Rule of Judea.