Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’

 

28 New Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Sold in US

One of the 15 fragments that was recently sold and is now in an institution in the United States that hasn’t made a public announcement.

Credit: Photo courtesy Les Enluminures

Twenty-eight fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls that were purchased from the antiquities market have yet to be published, but are now sitting in three U.S. institutions, Live Science has found.

Forthcoming publications will describe some of these fragments within the next year, experts said. The 28 “new” fragments are part of a growing number of Dead Sea Scrolls that have appeared in the United States. At least 45 fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls have popped up in the U.S. over the past two decades.

Scholars have questioned whether some of these fragments are modern-day forgeries or if they come from caves in the Judean desert that were looted in the past few decades.

Often, anonymous individuals sold these fragments that have appeared in the U.S., claiming that they were once owned by Khalil Iskander Shahin, an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, Live Science found. Shahin collected many of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Bedouin people in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s; he often went by the name Kando, which his son William Kando now uses. [In Photos: Dead Sea Scrolls from the Antiquities Market]

However, William Kando has raised concerns about the number of scroll pieces claimed to have shown up in the United States. In conversations with Live Science, he said that while his family has sold some scroll fragments to collectors in the United States over the past few decades, the family didn’t sell them in the numbers that some collectors are claiming.

During the conversations with Live Science, William Kando also revealed that, after the Kando family sold scroll fragments to U.S. collectors, these artifacts were often resold multiple times, creating a tangled collecting history that makes it difficult to determine which of the 45 fragments the Kandos actually owned.

The Dead Sea Scrolls come from 12 caves, which contained thousands of scroll fragments and are located near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. Excavations of the caves by professional archaeologists uncovered some of the scrolls, while private Bedouin residents removed other scrolls, before selling them to Shahin.

The scrolls contain text from books in the Hebrew Bible as well as community rules, calendars and astronomical texts, among other writings.

Eleven of these caves were discovered between 1947 and 1956, and the discovery of a 12th cave was announced earlier this year. Archaeologists found that most of the scrolls in the 12th cave had been plundered decades earlier. More caves that contain (or once contained) scrolls could await discovery, said Randall Price, a professor at Liberty University in Virginia, who was one of the leaders of the team that excavated the 12th cave.

Altogether, there are nine unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; four at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California; and another 15 fragments that were recently sold through a company called Les Enluminures on behalf of an anonymous seller and are now in an undisclosed U.S. institution. Sandra Hindman, the president of Les Enluminures, said that the institution has not yet made a public announcement and she is not at liberty to disclose the identity. [See Photos of Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments]

As the 28 unpublished scroll fragments are studied and described in scientific journals, more information will appear on what the artifacts contain. Already, multiple scholars who are concerned about the fragments have called for the publication of as much information on their collecting history as possible.

“Southwestern purchased nine Dead Sea Scroll fragments approximately seven years ago. We currently have a contract to publish them with Brill ,” a publisher of scholarly books, said Ryan Stokes, a professor of the Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Hopefully, the volume will be available in the next year.”

When Southwestern purchased the fragments seven years ago, the seminary stated in its news releases that the fragments included writings from the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Daniel, Psalms and Deuteronomy. According to these past statements, one of the fragments holds passages from Leviticus 18, a biblical passage that forbids incest and homosexuality.

The four unpublished fragments at Azusa Pacific University include writings from the biblical books of Daniel, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and should be published soon.

“We’re hoping in the very, very, near future, with more feedback, our publication will come to light,” said Robert Duke, dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. Before Azusa Pacific University purchased the scroll fragments, the university received assurances from William Kando that the Kando family had owned those fragments in the past, Duke said.

It’s not certain when the 15 fragments sold through Les Enluminures will be studied and published. The institution in the United States that now owns those fragments has not made a public announcement about the acquisition, Hindman said.

Spokespersons for the Museum of the Bible, Azusa Pacific University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Lanier Theological Library all told Live Science that their institutions had not bought the Les Enluminures fragments.

Les Enluminures sent a batch of black-and-white photographs of the fragments to Live Science. The images show what appears to be Greek text on some of the fragments, a language that has been seen on other Dead Sea Scrolls. Hindman said she believes all 15 fragments were once in the collection of Bruce Ferrini, a collector in Ohio who died in 2010.

Hindman said that her information indicates that the 15 fragments were originally sold by the Kando family in 2002 before being passed through a series of collectors. William Kando expressed concerns about this claim, saying that he sold seven fragments in that year to a man named Craig Lampe and that he thinks some of those fragments later went to a “library in California” (a description that better matches Azusa Pacific University).

Duke said that he’s not certain if Azusa’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments were among those sold by the Kando family to Lampe in 2002.

Some of the 15 fragments may be part of the same scroll, and it’s possible that in 2002, the 15 fragments were part of a few larger fragments that have since fallen apart Hindman said. She said she is convinced that the fragments are authentic. Lampe’s antiquities business is now run by his son Joel Lampe, who did not return requests for comment.

A number of Dead Sea Scroll fragments in America have already been published. These include 13 fragments that were published last year in the book “Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection” (Brill, 2016) and are now in the collection of the Museum of the Bible, which is set to open in November 2017 in Washington, D.C., just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

In the book, scholars noted a number of suspicious features that might indicate the fragments are forgeries. The 13 scrolls were purchased in four lots from anonymous sellers between 2009 and 2014, according to the book. William Kando told Live Science that while a few fragments may have come from his family’s collection, not all of them are from the Kandos.

However, the case for forgery is not settled. Ada Yardeni, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is in an expert in the paleography of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the study of their handwriting), told Live Science that her analysis indicated that all 13 fragments are authentic.

Curators at the Museum of the Bible said that they are treating the scroll fragments at their institution as potential forgeries and are conducting scientific tests on them. The curators said they also plan to address the issue of authenticating Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the museum display.

Other Dead Sea Scroll fragments that have appeared in the past two decades in the United States have been described in scientific publications. These include: one fragment at Lanier Theological Library in Houston, one fragment at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio; a fragment from a collector in Pasadena, California, that scholars from the Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins studied and published; and one published fragment at Azusa Pacific University.

Additionally, previously published fragments arrived in the U.S. in the mid-20th century and are now at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the Syrian Orthodox Church’s eastern U.S. archdiocese.

Original article on Live Science.

http://www.livescience.com/58507-new-dead-sea-scrolls-sold-in-us.html

 

 

 

 

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2/8/2017

Excavations in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12. [Photo links below]

The surprising discovery, representing a milestone in Dead Sea Scroll research, was made by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, with the collaboration of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia, USA.

The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.

Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Oren Gutfeld: “This is one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries, and the most important in the last 60 years, in the caves of Qumran.

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       Archaeologists Dr. Aaron Judkins & Bruce Hall 

The excavation was supported by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and is a part of the new “Operation Scroll” launched at the IAA by its Director-General, Mr. Israel Hasson, to undertake systematic surveys and to excavate the caves in the Judean Desert.

Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls. Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.

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                        Holding a piece of Qumran pottery fragment with Dr. Aaron Judkins and Dr. Randall Price 

Until now, it was believed that only 11 caves had contained scrolls. With the discovery of this cave, scholars have now suggested that it would be numbered as Cave 12. Like Cave 8, in which scroll jars but no scrolls were found, this cave will receive the designation Q12 (the Q=Qumran standing in front of the number to indicate no scrolls were found).

“This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation. “Finding this additional scroll cave means we can no longer be certain that the original locations (Caves 1 through 11) attributed to the Dead Sea scrolls that reached the market via the Bedouins are accurate.”

Dr. Gutfeld added: “Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we ‘only’ found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more.”

Pottery shards, broken scroll storage jars and their lids — even neolithic flint tools and arrowheads — littered the cave’s entrance. Farther in, there appeared to be a cave-in.

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 Cloth found in the cave, which at one time wrapped a scroll.
After a bit of work with a small pickax, the team made a monumental find: an unbroken storage jar with a scroll. It was rushed to Hebrew University’s conservation lab, where it was unfurled in a protected environment.  It had no writing; it was placed in the jar to prepare it for writing. But the effort was not in vain. Scientists soon discovered the cave-in was intentional and it hid a tunnel about 16-20 feet in length. The team thinks looters ransacked the cave around the 1950s, pointing to pickaxes left in the tunnel as evidence. The team also found the cloth coverings and the leather strap that bound the scrolls the jars once held.
“I imagine they came into the tunnel. They found the scroll jars. They took the scrolls.”  “They even opened the scrolls and left everything around, the textiles, the pottery.”

The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods.

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Seal made from carnelian, a semi-precious stone

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Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia survey the cave.

This first excavation to take place in the northern part of the Judean Desert as part of “Operation Scroll” will open the door to further understanding the function of the caves with respect to the scrolls, with the potential of finding new scroll material. The material, when published, will provide important new evidence for scholars of the archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea caves.

“The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered,” said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert.”

According to Dr. Randall Price, co-director of the dig from Liberty University,

“this is only the beginning of our search for more scrolls. Undoubtedly they are out there and we know of some 300 caves in the area. Our team is planning to return to excavate other caves in the near future.”

History has been made by Price and his team and even greater secrets lay ahead to be uncovered. According to a news release from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the excavations are part of “Operation Scroll,” a joint effort by the university, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.

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Photos for download: (Credit for all photos to Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld):

Original press release by Hebrew University here: http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/33424

Click here to read the article.

http://magazine3.journeyofpossibilities.com/13/

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Apocalyptic text is inscribed with ink in Hebrew over a large stone. It’s the Gabriel Revelation also known as the Dead Sea Stone – first published in 2007.

It was discovered around the year 2000 in Jordan near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.
The so-called Gabriel Stone is authentic and very important for understanding the true roots of Jesus Christ’s messianic conception.

However, this ancient tablet with messianic overtones reputedly from before the time of Christ has been debated in archaeological and biblical circles. While one scholar claims the find could “shake our basic view of Christianity,” a Catholic Professor of Scripture suggests the tablet is actually evidence for the historical probability of Christian belief.

Now, this priceless and unique 2,000-year-old stone artifact is displayed at exhibition opened in Jerusalem. Gabriel Stone is a priceless and unique 2,000-year-old stone artifact, which traces depictions of the Archangel Gabriel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic sacred writings and scriptures. His role is – as a messenger to humans from God – was crucial in the three monotheistic faiths.

The stone is cut on one side, along which two columns – 16 cm wide and about 75 cm in height – are covered with text. The columns are separated by a gap approximately 3.5 cm wide. The inscription is composed of 47 horizontal lines and four vertical lines fixing the columns’ borders. The text contain of 87 lines of which 44 are in the right-hand column and 43 in the left-hand column. The last two lines of the left-hand column are much shorter than the rest, and their ending is marked by diagonal lines.

It’s uncertain if the text begins with the first line of the right-hand column. Was it preceded by text that is now lost? Or perhaps the whole composition was comprised of an additional stone or even more stones. However, archaeologists didn’t find traces of any binding substance (like for example cement) on it.

The Hebrew text is written in the first person that identifies himself three times in the first-person: “I am Gabriel”. He converses with a human figure – a visionary or prophet – to whom he, Gabriel, is apparently communicating a vision.

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The text – very prophetic and apocalyptic – also expresses anxiety over the fate of Jerusalem and reflects the crucial role of angels as intermediaries. It’s an attack on Jerusalem and the hope that God will see to the city’s deliverance for the sake of his servant David, perhaps referring to the Messiah of Davidic descent.

A fascinating aspect of the tablet is that the message is not inscribed by a chisel or stylus as is normal for stone; rather the message has been written with pen and ink. Writing on pottery shards with ink was common—the ancient-world equivalent of memos and instant messaging—but only one other ink-inscribed stone of the era, found at Qumran in the 1950s as part of the DSS archaeological excavations, is known to exist. The Gabriel Revelation stone is the first example of the angel’s name appearing in ink on stone, although earlier mentions of his name are found in the Dead Sea scrolls, according to Adolfo Roitman, curator of the “I am Gabriel” exhibit at the Israel Museum.  At the same time, museum director James Snyder said that “the Gabriel Revelation stone is, in a way, like a Dead Sea scroll written on stone and it’s unique in that respect.”

Controversy over the exact nature of the stone’s text remains. The second or even several “Gabriel Stone” fragments may still be out there, waiting to be discovered. Based on analysis of linguistic patterns and the shape of the script of The Gabriel Revelation stone, it was written towards the end of the first century BC, which means around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Thus, the inscription is a pre-Christian text.

The first part of the sacred inscription has the apocalyptic character; it’s about the ultimate destiny of mankind and the world; vanquishing of the Antichrist and its forces of evil. The second part focuses on death and resurrection. The text refers to three leaders – shepherds – sent by God to His people, who were killed in battle. Interesting are the words in the last part of the inscription. These words are the words of the Archangel Gabriel who orders his mysterious and unknown interlocutor – to return to life after three days and says:

“By three days, live.”

The Gabriel’s order written in the 80th line of the inscription, is followed by the further line that states that a leader – a “prince of the princes” – was put to death, and his corpse turned to dung among the rocky crevices.

Although researchers have long debated: who is the man resurrected by Archangel Gabriel, I believe this is a direct reference to the person of Jesus Christ crucified by the Romans and resurrected in three days as foretold by the ancient prophets of the Bible.

Will additional artifacts be found in the future such as the Dead Sea Stone?  New archaeological excavations are under way in Qumran this December. Click here to learn more about the Dead Sea Cave Archaeology Project.