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Welcome: Dead Sea Scrolls
The discovery of the collection of manuscripts found near the vicinity of Khirbet Qumran and the surrounding desert known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls ranks as one of the most important archeological discoveries of the modern era for all aspects of biblical studies. Over the past several decades and countless hours of work, archeologists and biblical scholars have found over 200 scrolls containing works found in the Hebrew Bible as well as over 700 scrolls non-biblical Jewish manuscripts, of which the primary languages have been Hebrew and Aramaic.
Because the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls are relatively new in terms of biblical works the field of study is still in flux and new theories are still being proposed vis-a-vis the community and its writings, it is important to read the most recent scholarly literature. This LibGuide provides links to important reference works, journals, digital databases, and transcriptions of the scrolls to help those new to the subject as well as those doing advanced studies.
Websites & Databases
Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Biblical Texts by Donald W. Parry and Andrew C. Skinner
The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library presents a complete Hebrew transcription and English translation of the Biblical texts, together with high-resolution images. The contents of this online publication is identical to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Biblical Texts CD-ROM, published by Brill and Brigham Young University but its interface is adapted to Brill's online platform for reference works.
Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Non-Biblical Texts This link opens in a new window
Biblical and Non-biblical Texts. DSSEL covers only the non-biblical Qumran texts based on a formal understanding of what constitutes a biblical text. The canonical biblical books are excluded from this edition, while Ben Sira (2Q18) is included. Qumran copies of Aramaic and Greek translations are excluded from DSSEL as are 4Q124–125. Due to the fragmentary character of the Qumran compositions, it is often unclear whether a small fragment contains a biblical or non-biblical composition,10 but DSSR and DSSEL follow the decisions of those who edited the texts regarding their nature. Furthermore, the distinction between texts that are considered to be Scripture and those that are not, in the wide sense of the word, is often difficult.
Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition Index
This is a list, created and curated by Jim Darlack, Director of the Goddard Library, of the Qumran Documents found in The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, edited by Florentino García-Martínez with hyperlinks making it easier for students to navigate to the exact document they are looking for.
The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls
The Israel Museum welcomes you to the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, allowing users to examine and explore these most ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times at a level of detail never before possible. Developed in partnership with Google, the new website gives users access to searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. This collection includes: the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple Scroll, and the War Scroll.
Dead Sea Discoveries
Dead Sea Discoveries is an international journal dedicated to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and associated literature. The journal is primarily devoted to the discussion of the significance of the finds in the Judean Desert for Biblical Studies, and the study of early Jewish and Christian history. Dead Sea Discoveries has established itself as an invaluable resource for the subject both in the private collections of professors and scholars as well as in the major research libraries of the world.
The Leon Levey Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is very proud to present the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, a free online digitized virtual library of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hundreds of manuscripts made up of thousands of fragments – discovered from 1947 and until the early 1960’s in the Judean Desert along the western shore of the Dead Sea – are now available to the public online. The high resolution images are extremely detailed and can be accessed through various search options on the site.
The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature
The Center aims to stimulate and foster research on the Scrolls, particularly the great task of integrating the new information gained from the Scrolls into the body of knowledge about Jewish history and religion in the Second Temple period. Such integration affects the study of the Bible, Jewish literature and thought of the Second Temple Period, earliest Christianity and the New Testament, early rabbinic Judaism, and more. Our web site provides many resources for the study of the Scrolls, as well as information about the Center's activities and programs. The Orion Center Bibliography of the Dead Sea Scrolls provides an essential, internationally known and used resource for scrolls scholars.
ebook Primary Sources
The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition by Florentino García Martínez; Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar
For easier Navigation, please see the Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition Index
"This two-volume study text contains edited Hebrew and Aramaic transcriptions, and English translations of the non-biblical scrolls on facing pages, arranged by serial number from Cave 1 to Cave 11. In addition, it offers a summary of the contents of the biblical scrolls from Qumran. Each Q-number is provided with a heading which contains the information on the text and selected bibliographic references. Although unidentified and unclassified fragments have been omitted, and no snippets of manuscripts have been reproduced, this edition aims to be complete for the non-biblical scrolls. This publication is designed as a practical reference tool to facilitate access to the Qumran collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. As such it is primarily intended for classroom use and for use by specialists from other disciplines who need a reliable compendium to all the materials found." - Brill
The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader, vol. 1 by Donald W. Parry; Emanuel Tov The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader
is a collection of volumes dedicated to providing scholars access to transcriptions to all of the non-biblical works found at Qumran and the surrounding areas.
This is vol. 1 of a multi-volume work. At this time only vols. 1,2, and 4 have digital books at this time. When the other volumes are made available the DTL will acquire them.
Vol. 2 can be found HERE
Vol. 4 can be found HERE
4QInstruction by Matthew J. Goff
"The wisdom tradition of ancient Israel, represented in the Hebrew Bible by Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes and in the Apocrypha by Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon, is also well-attested in the texts from Qumran. 4QInstruction (1Q26, 4Q415 418, 4Q423), the largest wisdom text of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is considered a sapiential text primarily because of its explicit and insistent pedagogical nature. To make this significant wisdom text more widely available, this volume offers a critical edition, translation, and commentary on the main fragments of 4QInstruction. It examines particular texts of 4QInstruction as well as broader issues, including its date, genre, main themes, and place in Second Temple Judaism. Finally, in order to contextualize this pivotal work, 4QInstruction s relationship to the sapiential and apocalyptic traditions is also explored." - SBL Press
The War Texts: 1 QM and Related Manuscripts by Jean Duhaime
"The War Texts is the name given to a small group of Dead Sea Scrolls that depict the preparation for and the various phases of the eschatological battle between the 'Sons of Light' and the 'Sons of Darkness'. Jean Duhaime briefly surveys the history of these texts from their initial discovery to their official publication. He describes the different scrolls and gives details of their contents and their relationships to one another. Duhaime summarizes the various reasons supporting a dating of this composition to the Hellenistic or Roman period and provides an example of the use of the Bible in the War Texts." T&T Clark
Wisdom Texts from Qumran by Daniel Harrington
"This study is the first full analysis of the Qumran wisdom texts. New translations and a full explanation of the background and context of wisdom literature introduce the reader to an important and hitherto little discussed part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After surveying biblical and extrabiblical wisdom books, the author considers the best and most fully preserved wisdom texts from Qumran. The centrepiece of the book is a discussion of the large wisdom instruction known as Sapiential Work A. Also, the author reflects on the relevance of those texts for the study of early Judaism and Christianity. An appendix treats the Ben Sira scroll from Masada." - Routledge
The New Damascus Document by Ben Zion Wacholder
"This composite edition of the Damascus Document and scrolls from Khirbet Qumran (with translation and commentary) presents a new understanding of the relationship of these texts, time and purpose; shedding additional light on the Dead Sea Scrolls." - Brill
The Qumran Community by Michael A. Knibb
"This book provides a new translation of substantial extracts from the Qumran writings, which comprise an important part of the Dead Sea scrolls. The writings reflect the beliefs and practices of a religious community which existed on the shores of the Dead Sea between the middle of the second century BC and AD 68. They shed considerable light on the Essenes, whose movement had an important focus at Qumran. In addition to selecting the most significant legislative, poetic and liturgical writings, Professor Knibb provides a commentary dealing with major interpretative problems raised by the extracts." - CUP
The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Timothy H. Lim; John J. Collins
"The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls seeks to probe the main disputed issues in the study of the Scrolls. In 1947 the first of the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries was made near the site of Qumran, at the northern end of the Dead Sea. Despite the much-publicized delays in the publication and editing of the Scrolls, practically all of them had been made public by the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the first discovery." - OUP
Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Lawrence H. Schiffman
"Featuring 450 articles by an international community of 100 scholars, this renowned Encyclopedia is regarded by many as the definitive scholarly resource on what we know about the Dead Sea Scrolls—their history, relevance and meaning—as well as the controversies that surround them." - OUP
Dead Sea Scrolls: A Full History by Weston Fields
"The Dead Sea Scrolls, A Full History, vol. 1, is the first of a projected two volumes offering a more complete account of the discovery of the scrolls and their history over the past 60 years since the first scrolls were discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea." - Brill
The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography by John J. Collins
"Collins vividly recounts how a Bedouin shepherd went searching for a lost goat and found the scrolls instead. He offers insight into debates over whether the Essenes were an authentic Jewish sect and explains why such questions are critical to our understanding of ancient Judaism and to Jewish identity. Collins explores whether the scrolls were indeed the property of an isolated, quasi-monastic community living at Qumran, or whether they more broadly reflect the Judaism of their time. And he unravels the impassioned disputes surrounding the scrolls and Christianity. Do they anticipate the early church? Do they undermine the credibility of the Christian faith? Collins also looks at attempts to "reclaim" the scrolls for Judaism after the full corpus became available in the 1990s, and at how the decades-long delay in publishing the scrolls gave rise to sensational claims and conspiracy theories." - Princeton University Press
Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls: Essays in Method by George J. Brooke
"The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have long captured the public imagination, are now all available in principal editions and accessible translations. This book addresses the next stage in their analysis by raising questions about how they should be read and studied. The essays collected here illustrate two approaches. First, some essays argue that traditional methods of studying ancient texts need to be refined and broadened in the light of the Scrolls. The volume thus contains studies on text criticism, literary traditions, lexicography, historiography, and theology. Second, the book also argues that innovative methods of study, applied fruitfully in other areas, now also need to be applied to the Scrolls, such as studies that consider the relevance for the Scrolls of deviance theory, cultural memory, hypertextuality, intertextuality, genre theory, spatial analysis, and psychology." - SBL Press
Deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls by Jonathan G. Campbell
“[This] book is the ideal introduction to the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran and their impact on our understanding of the rise of Christianity. [It:] introduces the Qumran Scrolls to the uninitiated general reader; explains how revolutionary the discovery of the Scrolls was and their enduring significance; sets the Scrolls within the wider context of Jewish history and religion of the second temple period; and now [is] expanded to include additional material about the scrolls themselves and recent theories about the community behind them." - Wily-Blackwell
The Qumran Paradigm: A Critical Evaluation of Some Foundational Hypotheses in the Construction of the ‘Qumran Sect’ by Gwynned de Looijer
"This thesis is a critical study of some of the foundational hypotheses of the Qumran Paradigm. This Paradigm connects the archaeological site of Khirbet Qumran to, on the one hand, the manuscripts from the eleven caves in its vicinity and, on the other hand, the descriptions of the Essenes by Philo, Josephus and Pliny the Elder. Thus, the Qumran Paradigm hypothesises that the Qumran manuscripts reflect the ‘sectarian’ library of a radical minority group (or ‘sect’), which was closely connected to the Essenes and resided at Khirbet Qumran. Part of this group’s ideology is thought to be their self-identification as ‘the chosen righteous ones’, awaiting the eschaton. Their exclusivist self-understanding is perceived to be demonstrated by modes of separatism and dualistic thinking in the manuscripts of the group’s ‘library’."
T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls by George J. Brooke; Charlotte Hempel
"This companion provides the ideal resource for those seriously engaging with the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 30 concise articles all of the key texts and documents are examined. A section on the complex methods used in analyzing the scrolls then follows before the focus moves to consideration of the scrolls in their various contexts; political, religious, cultural, economic, historical. The genres ascribed to groups of texts within the scrolls are examined in the next section with due attention given to both past and present scholarship. The main body of the companion then concludes with crucial issues and topics discussed by leading scholars. The book finishes with appendices and indexes giving: timelines, lists of kings, family trees of the Seleucids, Ptolemies, Hasmoneans, lists of places and scrolls, information on electronic resources and classified bibliographies. The volume is illustrated throughout with some 60 images enabling readers to consider key texts from the scrolls not only in transcription but simultaneously with photographs." - T&T Clark
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