The Dead Sea Scrolls were recovered from eleven caves in the hills behind
Qumran, on the north west corner of the Dead Sea, between 1947 and 1967, in
an area that is now part of Israel. (The term is sometimes wrongly used to
include any ancient scrolls found along the shores of the Dead Sea.)
The texts, mainly written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek also exhibit
examples of texts influenced by Arabic, Nabatean, and Egyptian writing, as
well as some passages containing cryptic symbols. They are considered to have
been composed or copied between the fourth century BCE and the first century
CE and comprise biblical, sectarian, as well as apocryphal and pseudepigraphic
texts. The biblical material includes examples from every book of the Hebrew
Scriptures except Esther.
The more important and larger items are kept in the Shrine of the Book, Israel
Museum, Jerusalem; Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem; and Archaeological Museum,
Amman, Jordan. Smaller items are at various universities (Chicago, Manchester,
Heidelberg); and at the Bibliotheque National, Paris; with the Syrian community
in New Jersey; and in private collections.
They are generally thought to have belonged to a community of Essenes who
lived at Qumran between around 150 BCE and 68 CE.To date some 95 percent of
the material has now been translated and published; this includes all the
major biblical works and virtually all the material found in caves other than
cave four, which lies closest to the Qumran settlement site.
The texts were written on parchment, papyrus, ceramic material, and most
unusually, one scroll was inscribed on extremely pure copper....
His exploration links the scroll to the ancient Egyptian king Akhenaten, confirming a long suspected influence of this pharaoh's religious beliefs on those of the Hebrews. Robert Feather's findings not only reveal the locations of most of the treasures listed on the Copper Scroll, but they also point to a radical new understanding of the origins of monotheism-the basis of the three great religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Robert Feather, combining his background as a metallurgist with his journalistic expertise, has unraveled the enigma of the Copper Scroll in a fascinating study that takes the reader on a journey from ancient Mesopotamia, through Canaan, into Egypt, and back to the shores of the Dead Sea.
Black Holes in the Dead Seas Scrolls is a fascinating account of archaeology and religions which clarifies what the Scrolls really say and what they mean, by cutting through layers of cultural and political baggage that have hampered published translations for decades.
Since the first of the Scrolls were unearthed in 1947 – the greatest cultural discovery of the twentieth century – scholars have produced countless translations, descriptions, analyses, dictionaries, glossaries, commentaries, and archaeological studies of these texts. Problems of delays and procrastination by the scholars in charge of deciphering and publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls have been evident since the early 1950s. This book gives hard evidence for a completely new explanation for the delays, as well as exposing huge gaps in the understanding of the Scrolls.
In this important account Robert Feather addresses many unanswered questions. Why were the Scrolls found in desert caves in clay jars? Why was the Qumran community isolated from the rest of society? What did it mean that they were at odds with the temple elite? Where did the Scrolls come from, particularly the Copper Scroll with its strange ancient ‘Egyptian’ markings? What is the meaning of all the references to Egypt? The analysis and interpretation of these scrolls will surely continue for at least another century before all the possibilities are exhausted.
Although this book deals with the era of Jesus and, before that, the ancient pharaohs, it comes right up-to-date with coverage of current tensions in the field of biblical and archaeological studies and disclosures that could shake the foundations of belief in all three monotheistic religions.
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© Robert Feather 2005 - 2014