Qumran Caves And The Dead Sea Scrolls
Qumran caves are yet another awesome place to visit in Israel. It is located on the Judean Desert of the West Bank and is indeed a hotspot for tourists and pilgrims passing through the region.
The caves of Qumran are a combination of naturally formed caves as well as artificial reconstructed caves.
These astonishing caves are popularly known as where the Dead Sea scrolls were found not so long ago.
The international body, UNESCO, named the city of Qumran and 970 other cities as a World Heritage Site. That begins to explain why it is so appealing to any and everyone. Qumran’s location is another reason why it is so popular. Being between the dead sea and Jerusalem puts many other religious sites around close by. Not so far from Qumran, you will find other popular sites such as Masada and Ein Gedi.
If you plan on having a nice time in the Judean Desert, Qumran is one place you should visit. Not only is it unique, but it offers an opportunity for visitors to experience adventure and learn of ancient history.
We can trace the history of Qumran back to the Iron Age. Around 134-104BC, during the Hellenistic period, the city went through a vast reconstruction.
Dead Sea Scrolls
According to the local story, in 1947, a local named Bedouin was taking his sheep to pasture around the Qumran. He got bored watching his sheep and started throwing stones into a small carven. As fate will have it, a stone met and shattered a clay jar. Alarmed by the sound, he entered the cavern and saw the broken clay jar containing ancient scrolls.
According to history, these scrolls were sold to an antique dealer. But before they got to that dealer, they had switched owners severally in an effort to figure out its age and accurately determine the value of the parchments.
To fully understand the relevance of these manuscripts, archaeologists continued their search in this area. Today, archaeologists have discovered over 950 unique manuscripts. These manuscripts are in various lengths as they are part of a larger whole. Most of the fragments discovered are, however, portions of the original scrolls. Scholars have studied these fragments and we now have seven scrolls which are categorized into three primary segments.
We classify them in:
These scrolls have an estimated age of around Two Thousand years. We believe that they were written between the third century BCE to the first century.
Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls So Valuable?
There was a turning point in the study of the history of the Jewish and Christian people as a result of these scrolls. They made the world see what being Jewish or Christian meant in ancient times.
These scrolls are still the oldest findings to date, and they give us a lot of new information on early Christianity and Judaism.
Such valuable temperatures are given the best treatment, so they do not deteriorate any further. They are kept in optimal storage conditions. One of the scrolls named “The Copper Scroll,” which was found in the 3rd Cave, is preserved in the Amman Museum in Jordan.
Bedouins found seven scrolls in all 12 caves. A good number of tourists visit the site to catch a glimpse of what these scrolls look like. Others come to experience what these Cave look and feel like. There are also many other side attractions that spark interest in the minds of Qumran visitors.
Visiting the Shrine Of Books
The exhibition at the shrine of the Book complex is not just a piece of ancient writing. It is a window into a world that is long gone. It takes its readers on a journey through time and into the past.
The shrine of Books was built as a repository for the first seven scrolls discovered in Qumran. The white dome is made to emulate the jar lids in which the first scrolls were found. The building functions as a sanctuary designed to express profound spiritual significance. It can also be considered an international landmark of modern architecture.
It is located next to the official institutions of Israel. Considering the significance of the scrolls it houses, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Between its white dome and black walls lies a contrast. This is intentional as it depicts the tension that is evident in the scrolls between the Sons of light (the spiritual world) and the Sons of Darkness.
The corridor leading to the scrolls was designed to resemble a cave to mimic the caves in which the Cave was initially found.
Qumran and the significance of its Library to Christianity today
The Sectarians who lived in this region attached great significance to the study of prayer, scripture, interpretation of the law, and biblical exegesis. Hundreds of scrolls were discovered on this site, and in those scrolls, we’ve found the rules of the community carefully preserved.
This indicates that these sectarians attached great importance to the study of scripture and followed its doctrines wholeheartedly. In fact, they literally followed the instructions in Joshua 1:8 that cautioned Christians not to let the word of the law depart from their lips. Instead, it admonishes us to meditate on it, day and night.
Their laws enjoined them to ensure that shifts in community members engage in around-the-clock studies so they can unravel the divine mysteries of the cosmos, their laws, and history.
The literary activities and scribbles of the sectarians are believed to have taken place in Khirbet Qumran within some of the rooms in the communal center. Most of these activities were done in the “scriptorium.”
Most of the Arabic and Hebrew scrolls in Qumran were written in Jewish or Squar script, which was common during the second temple period.
Would you like to see these scrolls for yourself? Of course, booking a trip with our VIP Israel Tour services is one way to ensure you get the best touring experience. Not only will you enjoy the beauty of the city, but you will do so in the best ways possible.