Dead Sea Scrolls shed light on Old, New Testaments
In 1995, I was able to visit the Dead Sea. It is located in Israel's Jordan River Valley.
Water in it is much saltier than the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Countless chemical compounds bubble up in it from deep inside the earth.
While I was thee, I tried to picture what it was like in 1947, when a young Bedouin (Arab) goatherder was searching for a goat. (It had strayed from the herd.)
He came across some dark caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. While looking inside the caves for the missing animal, he found earthen Jars containing 225 scrolls.
Some of them were just fragments, due to age and exposure to the elements. For Bible scholars, it was a priceless discovery. They included all the books of the Old Testament except Esther.
A portion of them was written in Aramaic, the language of the Persians. Most of them were in Hebrew.
Between 150 B.C. and 68 A.D. scribes meticulously copied them. They are a priceless treasure and a window that has opened up into the past.
To prevent deterioration, the Dead Sea Scrolls are stored in a vault at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The investigation has revealed new bits of information. Scribes who copied the biblical texts wrote scriptures on copper and even sheep leather.
They added records of their current daily observations.
The area where they lived was known as Qumran. Scribes worked there for over 200 years.
The amazing preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls has to make dates of both the Old and New Testaments more accurate for us today.
Helen Ruth Arnold,