?] Bedouin shepherd finds 7 scrolls in jars in cave
British barricade Jewish settlements in Jerusalem to contain
incidents of violence.
Ta'amireh Bedouin take scrolls to
Bethlehem antiquities dealer (Kando) who shows
them to the
Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem (Athanasius
Yeshue Samuel) who purchases 4 of them (including the Isaiah
Apocryphon & the
Rule) for about
antiquities dealer (Feidi Salahi) shows 2 other
scrolls to Hebrew
University Prof. Eliezer Sukenik.
Nations votes to partition Palestine between Arabs & Jews.
buys 3 scrolls (another
Isaiah scroll, the War
scroll, & Hodayoth)
Samuel's scrolls but
fails to arrange purchase.
Orthodox monk shows Isaiah
scroll to John
C. Trevor at American
Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) center in Jerusalem who,
colleague William Brownlee, photographs &
archaeologist, William F. Albright, confirms Trevor's
identification of Isaiah
scroll as the oldest
known Hebrew manuscript.
Samuel gives ASOR
director Millar Burrows rights to publicize
scrolls & takes scrolls to Beirut as violence between Arabs
& Jews increases.
||-- [Apr. 11] Burrows
issues press release announcing the discovery of the scrolls.
15] British leave Palestine. Jews establish state of Israel &
repel Arab attacks.
describes "The Discovery of the Scrolls" in Biblical
Archaeologist 11 (46-68).
portions of his scrolls, identifying the authors as Essenes.
L. Harding, British director of antiquities for Jordan,
launches search for scroll caves with aid of Jordan's Arab
de Vaux of French Dominican l'Ecole Biblique to
1 where the first 7
scrolls had been discovered. Many more fragments recovered,
including original Hebrew versions of Jubilees &
the Testament of Levi.
Samuel brings 4 scrolls
to U.S. to try to raise money for Palestinian refugees &
publishes account of his purchase in Biblical Archaeologist 12
(26-31). Scrolls displayed in American museums through 1951.
scholar, André Dupont-Sommer, publishes his Preliminary
Views on the Dead Sea Manuscripts, identifying them as the
product of Essenes & suggesting that they were composed at
the still unexcavated
site of Khirbet
historian, Solomon Zeitlin, challenges
"The Alleged Antiquity of the Scrolls" & claims
they were forgeries (Jewish Quarterly Review 40-41).
-- W. F.
Albright engages Zeitlin
in public debate in Philadelphia presenting persuasive arguments
for the authenticity of the scrolls based on external evidence .
publishes photos of Isaiah
scroll & a commentary
on Habakkuk (1QpHab).
publish text of 1QS
as Manual of Discipline (1951).
& agrees to purchase all scrolls he can get from Bedouin.
R. de Vaux begins
excavation of Khirbet
Bedouin discover 30 fragments of other scrolls in Cave 2,
including Jubilees & ben Sirach in the
explore other caves. Copper
scroll found in Cave 3.
Vaux a large pile of
fragments from another cave.
-- Jordanian consortium seeks funds from foreign museums &
universities to purchase more scrolls.
-- De Vaux locates Cave 4 less than 200 yards from Khirbet
Qumran. 15000 of
fragments of 574 mss. found including Aramaic versions 1
Enoch & Tobit, a scroll of Samuel that was
closer to the Greek Septuagint than the official Hebrew text
& fragments of a copy of the Damascus
Covenant, a text
that had been discovered in 1896 in the geniza of old Cairo
-- Nearby Caves 5 & 6 yield fragments of other copies of the
de Vaux's lectures to the
British Academy on his Qumran excavations support Dupont-Sommer's
hypothesis that the scrolls were written in its
"scriptorium" by Essenes.
assembles international team of 8 scholars to work on scrolls in
from U.S.: Frank
Moore Cross (McCormick) & Patrick
Skehan (Catholic U);
from U.K.: John
Allegro (Manchester) & John
from France: Dominique
Barthélemy & Jean
from Germany: Claus-Hunno
from Poland: Josef
named project director.
Yadin, in the U.S. arranges covert purchase of Archbishop
Samuel's 4 scrolls for
Rabin (Oxford) re-edits the fragments of the Zadokite
returns to Israel reuniting the 7 original scrolls.
Literary critic Edmund Wilson publishes article
in the New Yorker arguing Dupont-Sommer's
observation of parallels between the figure of the Teacher of
Righteousness & Jesus indicated that Christian ideas were
borrowed from the scrolls.
publish the fragments of Cave 1.
-- Caves 7-10 south of Qumran yield other mss.
Allegro (of Manchester U) enlists Manchester College of Science &
Technology's aid in opening the Copper
scroll. Sends preliminary
transcriptions listing huge buried treasure to de
Allegro publishes The Dead Sea Scrolls, announcing that the
scroll contained "an
inventory of the the sect's most precious possessions"
-- De Vaux
issue statement to French Academy dismissing the Copper
scroll's buried treasure
as a fiction, incompatible with Essene communal economy.
publishes article suggesting that the Copper
scroll was written by
zealots who buried the Temple treasure.
-- In BBC broadcast
Allegro claims to have found evidence that Qumran sect worshipped a
crucified Messiah & suggests that Christians borrowed this
-- De Vaux, Milik, Starcky,
send letter to London Times challenging Allegro.
Allegro retracts claims & admits they were based on his
interpretation rather than on text.
-- Genesis Apocryphon unrolled at Hebrew U
& published by Yadin.
-- De Vaux's
team of scholars complete reconstruction & photographing of
fragments of scrolls from Cave 4.
-- Bedouin sell Kando
7 scrolls from Cave 11 who sells 6 of them to the Palestine
Archaeological Museum which in turn auctions them to European
& American institutions.
scholar, Cecil Roth, proposes "A Solution
to the Mystery of the Scrolls" (Commentary 24)
identifying the authors as followers of the zealot leader, Menachem, who was executed in Jerusalem by other Judean rebels
in 68 CE.
-- Theodore H. Gaster (Columbia U) publishes
English translations of 13
Dead Sea Scriptures from
cave 1 claiming that they "furnish a picture of the
religious and cultural climate in which John the Baptist
conducted his mission and in which Jesus was initially
reared...and whose religious ideas served largely as the seedbed
of the New Testament" (12).
leaves Dead Sea scroll team. De Vaux gives his scrolls to Maurice
-- De Vaux
finishes excavating Khirbet Qumran.
Allegro returns to Palestine to launch his own search for the treasure
described in Copper
scroll, without success. De
Vaux accuses him of
disturbing excavations for a treasure hunt.
Essene Writings from Qumran details archaeological,
paleographic & historical evidence supporting classic
hypothesis of the scrolls' origins.
survey of Ten Years of Discovery in the Judean Wilderness
suggests that the "last phase" of the Essene community
had militant zealot characteristics.
publishes translation of Copper
scroll in Revue
Biblique without mentioning his use of Allegro's
Allegro publishes his own book on The Treasure of the Copper Scroll using
-- Death of Archaeological Museum's patron, John D.
Rockefeller Jr., ends main source of funding for work
Transcription of Cave 4 scrolls completed; workshop dismantled
& scrolls locked in safe.
-- Photos of 574 texts divided among remaining scholars:
take responsibility for editing biblical scrolls; Milik
get 200 others.
Copper Scroll book, attacking it as imprecise &
learns that Kando
still had largest scroll from Cave 11 but fails to negotiate
translation of Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza
Vermes (Oxford) becomes popular introduction to Qumran
as the center of the Essene sect.
H. Rengstorf (U of Münster) claims the Dead Sea
scrolls originally came from the Temple library in Jerusalem (Hirbet
Qumran and the Problem of the Library of the Dead Sea Caves).
begins excavation of Masada. Copies of Hebrew ben
the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice found in Cave 4 of
Qumran discovered in Masada synagogue built by zealots.
OT scholar, G. R. Driver, publishes The
Judean Scrolls: the Problem & a Solution challenging
the accuracy of De Vaux & Dupont-Sommer's interpretation of
archaeological & paleographic evidence in dating the scrolls
& supporting Roth's
hypothesis of the 1st c. CE zealot origins of the scrolls.
of the Book (The
Israel Museum, Jerusalem)
opens exhibiting major scrolls from Cave 1 & documents from
the bar Kochba revolt.
Allegro publishes "The Untold Story of the Dead Sea Scrolls"
in Harpers Magazine, accusing de Vaux's team of
deliberately avoiding releasing scrolls because of content
adverse to Christian teaching.
& other eminent OT scholars sign letter in London Times criticizing
-- Allegro persuades Jordan government to nationalize Palestine
defeats Arabs in 6 Day War & occupies Palestine to the
Jordan, gaining control of Khirbet Qumran, the Rockefeller
Archaeological Museum & all the scrolls (except the Copper
Scroll & some fragments from Cave 1 that had been sent
to Amman, Jordan).
property in Bethlehem & finds the Temple
Scroll [above] in a
Pro-Arab scholars de
Vaux, Skehan, Starcky
refuse to cooperate with Israelis. Further publication of
of Chicago) presents
paper to ASOR
Albright Insitute in Jerusalem, questioning whether all Dead Sea
scrolls were products of an Essene sect based at Qumran, but is
denied authorization to examine unpublished scrolls.
Albright & R.
de Vaux die.
Pierre Benoit of Dominican Ecole Biblique becomes
project director, vowing to cooperate with Israeli authorities
to bring scrolls to publication.
Jesuit Jose O'Callaghan publishes article in Biblica
53 interpreting fragments of Greek scrolls from Cave 7 as
remnants of New Testament books (Mark 6:52-53, 1 Tim 3:16-4:1
& James 1:23-24).
||-- Agreement reached
to publish scrolls under revised title (Discoveries in the
Judean Desert) without reference to modern political
Schiffman (NYU), an expert in Jewish law, publishes The
Halakah of Qumran based on the regulations in the Damascus
Covenant & the
publishes long-awaited Hebrew fragments of Book of Enoch
claiming that absence at Qumran of any text comparable to the
"parable" section of the Ethiopic version proved that
the "son of Man" passages in the Ethiopic text were
later Christian insertions.
anniversary of scrolls' discovery prompts Geza
Vermes to warn of
"academic scandal" if pace of publication of scrolls
is not accelerated.
David Noel Freedman, questions the ethics of a
small group of scholars having exclusive rights to study &
publish the scrolls "at their own...discretion" (p.
Antiquities Law to stop burgeoning trade in ancient artifacts.
All ancient discoveries hereafter are automatically claimed to
be property of the state.
Allegro publishes The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Christian Myth claiming
that the gospels were narrative fictions about a non-existent
hero (Jesus) based on the Teacher of Righteousness.
Tov & Elisha Qimron (U of Negev)
become first Israeli scholars to work on the Dead Sea scrolls.
Elizabeth Bechtel finances a re-photographing
of the scrolls & has a microfilm of the project made for
publishes "The Problem of Origin and Identification of the Dead Sea
Scrolls" in Proceedings of the American Philosophical
Society, leading other scholars to consider alternatives to the
Temple Scroll from
Zion Wacholder (Hebrew Union College) publishes The
Dawn of Qumran: the Sectarian Torah & the Teacher of
Righteousness arguing that scrolls were written by
opponents of Jerusalem Zadokites.
Robert Eisenman (Cal State at Long Beach)
publishes Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians & Qumran
arguing that the scrolls were produced by a militant splinter
group of Sadducees who became the zealot movement out of
which John the Baptizer & early Christianity arose.
Invited to lecture at the Rockefeller Museum, Golb
argues that the absence of autograph letters & legal
documents among Dead Sea scrolls indicated that they were not
composed at Qumran.
-- Jerusalem post reports that Strugnell
had found a "letter from the Teacher of Righteousness"
to the Wicked Priest among Cave 4 scrolls (4QMMT).
to elucidate the ritual laws in the Acts of Torah (4QMMT)
& sends him photos & transcriptions.
publishes James the Just in the Habakkuk Pesher
(1QpHab) identifying the Teacher of Righteousness as the brother of Jesus
& his opponents -- "the Man of the Lie" &
"the Wicked Priest" -- as Paul & Hanan II.
scholar Carsten Thiede's Earliest Gospel
Manuscript? argues that O'Callaghan's
identification of 7Q5
as a fragment of Mark requires complete revision of many modern
assumptions about the composition of the gospels.
Benoit dies; succeeded by Strugnell.
Bechtel donates her
private microfilm of the scrolls to the Huntington Library (Cal)
shortly before her death.
convenes London conference on 40th anniversary of discovery of
the scrolls & calls for immediate publication of
all photographs without transcription, commentary or editorial
Allegro & Starcky
scholar G. Wilhelm Nebe identifies 2 fragments
from Cave 7 as portions of the epistle of Enoch in Greek (Revue
de Qumran 13).
Dutch Academy grants Wacholder
permission to publish its fragment of a 2nd copy of the Temple
sends Wacholder scroll photos & a
concordance of unpublished scrolls that had been made at his
insistence 30 years earlier.
-- Oxford mediates $350,000 grant to expedite publication of the
for access to photos of Cave 4 scrolls of Damascus
refuses since Eisenmann lacked training to interpret
Shanks, editor of Biblical
calls for publication of timetable for release of the scrolls
& characterizes Strugnell's
response as a "hoax or fraud."
publishes correspondence between Eisenman
NY Times & other newspapers run articles on debate between
scholars over issue of access to the scrolls.
-- Colloquium on scrolls in Mogilany, Poland issues resolution
calling for immediate publication of photos of the scrolls.
Israelis with access to scrolls begin to send Eisenman
unauthorized photos of the scrolls.
||-- [June] Schiffman
publishes "The New Halakhic Letter (4QMMT)
& the Origins of the Dead Sea Sect" (Biblical
Archaeologist 50), arguing that the Essenes originated as
schismatic Sadducees who withdrew from Jerusalem when leading
Sadducees accepted Hasmonean claims.
9] Israeli newspaper HaAretz publishes interview in which
characterized Judaism as "a horrible religion" &
lamented the survival of Jews as a group.
shows 1700 scroll photos to U
of Chicago scroll
specialist, Michael Wise, who immediately
Tov replaces Strugnell
as editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls project.
request for further scroll photos denied.
assistant, Martin Abegg, uses Strugnell's
to begin to reconstruct transcription of original texts.
launch Dead Sea Scrolls Project at U of Chicago's
Oriental Institute to decipher fragments from cave 4.
||-- [June 24] Oxford announces
receipt of a complete set of scroll photos & formation of
Forum for Qumran Research under direction of Vermes.
publication of Wacholder
computer-reconstructed transcription of scrolls based on
Strugnell's unpublished concordance.
22] Huntington Library grants all "qualified scholars"
access to the Bechtel
microfilm of the photos of the scrolls.
[Oct. 22] Israeli department of Antiquities announces that it
will grant access to official photos of the scrolls to scholars
who agree not to publish their findings.
photos in A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
co-edited by James M. Robinson.
annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Kansas
City MO, scroll project director, E.
Tov, announces lifting of
all publication restrictions, allowing any scholar to examine
the official scroll photos & publish whatever was
-- SBL passes resolution affirming the right of all scholars to
have access to facsimile reproductions of all ancient
manuscripts without any publication restrictions.
||-- In Jesus &
the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls Barbara Thiering
(U of Sydney) interprets the scrolls as the product of rivalry
between the supporters of John the Baptizer (the "Teacher
of Righteousness") & Jesus (the "Man of the
publish The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered containing
transcriptions & translations of 50 scrolls.
||-- [Apr.] Project
Judaica Foundation opens Scrolls
from the Dead Sea Exhibit
at Library of Congress.
publish the Acts of Torah (4QMMT) but retract their
earlier claim that it was written by the Teacher of
publishes Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls developing
his thesis that the Qumran sect was founded by schismatic
Sadducees, but insisting (like Golb)
that many of the Dead Scrolls were eclectic sources that were
not composed at Qumran.
-- Israeli archaeologists Itzhak Magen
and Yuval Peleg begin to reexcavate ruins to try to
resolve debate over the character of the settlement.
publishes Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? challenging
the identification of Qumran as an Essene settlement &
argument that the scrolls came from libraries (of different
groups) in Jerusalem.
11] Scientists at the
National Science Foundation lab at U of Arizona report that mass
spectrometer analysis of Dead Sea scrolls confirms the dating of
most mss. to the pre-Christian era.
Israeli archaeologist Hanan Eshel announces
discovery of 4 sealed
man-made caves near cave 4.
Zuckerman (USC) reports on his use
of infra-red photography & digital imaging
to reconstruct the text & lacunae in fragments of 4QDan
& the potential of this technology for restoring the text of
other damaged scrolls.
scholar Emile Puech supports Nebe
in identifying Cave 7's Greek fragments as portions of 1 Enoch
rather than various New Testament books (Revue Biblique 103).
||-- Ernest Muro
uses computer scans to reassemble Cave
7 fragments, confirming Puech's
identification of text as 1 Enoch 103 in Greek (Revue de
Qumran 70) & show that the controversial 7Q5
is probably not from any OT or NT book.
Distinguishing the worldview of sectarian scrolls found only at
Qumran from that of non-canonical works that
circulated elsewhere, Gabriele Boccaccini
(UMich) goes Beyond the Essene Hypothesis to argue that
Qumran was not the center of the Essene movement but rather the
retreat of an extremist splinter group that had separated from
the main Enochic/Essene party.
Mason argues that the hypothesis identifying the authors of
the Dead Sea scrolls as Essenes ignores & distorts the
accounts of Josephus.
years of excavation Magen & Peleg
conclude that the settlement at Qumran could not have
been a monastery, but rather was a pottery factory which was
vacated by its few inhabitants during the Jewish-Roman war
& that refugees from Jerusalem deposited the scrolls
(possibly from the Temple library) in nearby caves.
--[Aug.] Bedouin find two miniature fragments of Leviticus from
a Torah scroll in cave used by zealot refugees during bar Kochba
revolt [135 CE].
These are the first scroll finds in 40 years.
||-- [July 15] Eshel (Bar Ilan U) announces that he
has obtained new scroll fragments, raising scholars' hopes that
there may still be more to discover.
--[Nov] Eshel arrested for engaging in the illegal trade of
antiquities but is released without charges being filed. Eshel's
fragments confiscated by the Israeli Antiquities Authority
[IAA], sparking new controversy between
scholars & the Israeli government.
||-- [Dec. 15]
exhibit of Dead Sea scrolls for
inaccurately identifying scrolls by promoting classic Essene
thesis & failing to acknowledge recent findings that support
Eshel complains that the IAA
has mutilated the newfound Torah scroll fragments to run tests
to try to prove them forgeries.
--[Dec. 5] Italy's Central Institute for Restoration and
Institute for Book Pathology announces joint project to preserve
Dead Sea scrolls from further deterioration.
Israel's national museum & Google launch website with high
resolution digital images making the
great Isaiah scroll,
Community Rule &
commentary on Habakkuk freely available to a global public.
||--[Dec 18] Israel
Antiquities Authority launches the searchable
Leon Levy DSS Digital Library with over a thousand scroll
fragments, including many infra-red images that reveal writing
that cannot be deciphered by the naked eye.