Dating of the dead sea scrolls

01 May

Others are substantial and complete, the longest scroll being eight metres long.

They were written over a period of around 200 years, and were evidently placed in the caves to hide them from the advancing Roman army at the time of the First Jewish Revolt, and hence no later than 68AD.

Over three-quarters of the scrolls are written in Hebrew. One story is that a young Bedu called Mohammed, nicknamed edh-Dhib, found the first scrolls in a cave in 1947 while searching for a goat.

Dr John Trever, an early researcher, found several Mohammed edh-Dhibs all claiming to be that very man. Over the next ten years the site was thoroughly investigated.

About one in six of the scrolls have not yet been identified.

Carbon dating puts the earliest of them at about 150BC.

They may have been written out by the scribes of an ancient community living at Qumran, near the caves where they were found.

The most common books found are Psalms and Deuteronomy.

A further quarter are religious texts not part of a standard Bible, such as the book of Enoch or the book of Jubilees.