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The Bible and Archaeology

Who put all those scrolls in the cluster of caves, and why?

Around 152 B.C.E., a sect of Jewish priests split from the rest of the Jewish priests, and formed a monastic brotherhood headquartered in the desert. This new sect became known as the Essenes. Various translators suggest the word Essenes means “pious ones,” “healers,” “modest ones,” or “silent ones.” The prevailing theory is that around 68 C.E., the Essenes knew the impending raid by the Romans would end their way of life. Not wanting centuries of their work on script preservation and script copying to be looted, the Essenes hid the scrolls in nearby caves. Perhaps the Essenes thought they would be able to retrieve the scrolls at some point, but they never did.


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