Caves in the western cliffs of Qumran are the site of probably one of the most significant archaeological finds of our lifetime: the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were found in 1947 when a young Bedouin shepherd stumbled on a cave containing parchment scrolls in earthen jars. Most believe the scrolls were written by the Essenes, a Jewish sect which set up a monastic community here in the late 2nd century BC. During the Great Revolt against Rome, they hid their precious scrolls in the caves in the cliffs before the town was destroyed in 68 AD. Almost all books of the Hebrew Bible were discovered here, many of which are identical to the texts still used in Jewish communities. Several of the scrolls are on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem – which we had the honor of seeing.


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