We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of documents found in caves along a plateau above the Dead Sea in Israel, called Qumran. There are over 850 documents found in 11 different caves. Many retell parts of the Old Testament and have been dated as scribed before 100 AD.

A goat herder named Mohammed Ahmed al-Hamed in 1947 found the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Legend has it that he was looking for an animal that had strayed and stumbled across the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, several people claiming to be al-Hamed have called this tale into question. So like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the legend of their discovery is shrouded in mystery.

The Dead Sea Scrolls changed hands from antiques dealers to churches. Some were sold on the open market. Further search in the locations around Qumran found more scrolls in more caves. Some scrolls were published immediately, while others were published much later. Some alleged that the Roman Catholic Church wanted to suppress the publication of certain scrolls. However, with all scrolls now published, little evidence has been found that any of the works cast negative light on the Church.

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain writing, by at least three different scribes, and in at least three different dialects of Hebrew. Initially, the Dead Sea Scrolls were considered as a way of unlocking mysteries about Hebrew and possibly Early Christian beliefs. Most often today, they are used by biblical scholars to analyze differences in text, and compare interpretations and translations of certain disputed words.

The Dead Sea Scrolls do offer some illumination on the period of Jewish history when the Second Temple was built, from 570 BCE to 70 CE. Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are scribings of several Old Testament Books, like Psalms, Isaiah and Deuteronomy. There are some texts written in Greek, which many thought proved evidence of early Christian influence.

The theory the scrolls contain evidence of early Christian belief structures is flimsy. Many estimate the scrolls date back to 90 BCE. Thus Christians could not have written them.

Exactly who kept or secreted the Dead Sea Scrolls remains mysterious. In the 1990s, many believed the Dead Sea Scrolls were once in the possession of the Essenes, who lived near Qumran from approximately the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE. During the Jewish Revolt in 66 AD, the Essenes hid the scrolls in the caves to prevent their destruction. Many now discredit this theory because the Essenes were a small community and would not have supported so many scribes.

Other theories have since emerged, but no one can exactly say who wrote, held, or hid the Dead Sea Scrolls. Archaeologists and theologians still continue to study the scrolls in hopes that some interpretation will be made that sheds more light on their origins. Many of the scrolls have also been printed and are available for examination by the public.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anniebunnie — On Jun 20, 2014

Thanks for this interesting post. The Dead Sea Scrolls became one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century because of the relevance of these texts to biblical studies. These are among the best-known and most essential old documents discovered in years. These scrolls should be properly preserved like the biggest collection in the Israel museum.

By Pippinwhite — On Jun 16, 2014

@Grivusangel -- I wasn't able to get to that exhibit when it came to my part of the country, and I wish I had been able to go.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, to me, confirm that the Old Testament has been around for a long, long time, and certainly upholds the authenticity of the Scriptures.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written long before some people say they were, and obviously, by different hands. They do not contradict anything in Scripture. On the contrary, they confirm or illuminate some concepts.

By Grivusangel — On Jun 15, 2014

One of the most fascinating exhibits I've ever been to was the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at a local university. Seeing the artifacts was fantastic. Not only did they have one of the scrolls on display, but also examples of cuneiform from the Phoenecian era. The little tablet I saw was a receipt for nine cows.

The exhibit also featured early examples of the English bible, and even a page from a Gutenberg Bible! It was amazing. It was like seeing a history book come to life. I couldn’t look at everything long enough and I was sad when it was time to leave.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.