Daily Archives: June 1, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls: the French connection

Bloomberg reports on the exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France) in Paris with a discussion of the French connection and the problems posed by the scrolls. Jorg von Uthmann says,

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 was, along with the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, the greatest archaeological sensation of the 20th century. An exhibition at Paris’s National Library puts the scrolls in their historical and theological context and questions the mainstream hypothesis about their origin.

It’s the first show of this kind in France. That’s all the more amazing as French scholars were deeply involved in the deciphering of the scrolls and the tens of thousands of fragments on papyrus or parchment.

Most of the work was done at the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique in Jerusalem under the direction of the Dominican archaeologist Father Roland de Vaux.

To fund excavations at Khirbet Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea, De Vaux sold, in 1953, 377 fragments to the French government. Presented in airtight cases, they occupy the center of the theatrically staged show.

The complete article may be read here. The link to the National Library in Paris is here. The Bloomberg article includes three nice photos, including this one of a facsimile of the Isaiah scroll.

Facsimile of the Dead Sea Isaiah. National Libary via Bloomberg.com.

Facsimile of the Dead Sea Isaiah. National Library via Bloomberg.com.

About two weeks ago I was at Qumran and tried my eye and hand at making a panorama of the area immediately to the west of Qumran. In this photo, made of three images, you can see the Dead Sea on the left. The Qumran settlement is on the plateau to the right of the sea. As you enter, or leave, the Qumran parking lot you will see a sign pointing to Kalya.  These photo were made from that road. Click the image for a slightly larger photo.

Qumran Panorama by Ferrell Jenkins.

Qumran Panorama. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

About two months ago Todd Bolen identified the caves associated with the Scrolls. For high resolution photos of this same area see here.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer