Monday, November 28, 2011

New Developments in Dead Sea Scrolls Research

Here's a link to a popular article about research on textiles recovered from Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It seems the Qumranites dressed exclusively in white linen, just like Josephus' descriptions of the Essenes.

The article exaggerates, in my opinion, the amount of debate about the identity of the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The majority of scholars have been convinced that they were Essenes almost since their initial discovery, although there have always been a few dissenting voices that have gotten more press coverage than their theories necessarily merit.

The idea of the Qumran site having been a fortress is not new: however, it was not built with defensive fortifications, and there is little in the area that the vicinity that the Romans would have been interested in defending (for example, see this article).

There are many lines of evidence that converge to identify the Qumran community as an Essene settlement.  This latest contribution of data from textile studies is a welcome confirmation of what most Qumran scholars have already believed.


Michael Barber said...

Thanks for posting on this, John! I would have missed this! Great stuff!

Greg Hoerter said...

Dr. Barber, can you recommend a good Dead Sea Scrolls resource for Logos? I have been looking at Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls (12 vols.) which includes Vermes Dead Sea Scrolls in English.

Is there a better resource for the money?

thanks for you help!
Greg Hoerter

Michael Barber said...


As you probably know, I am a huge supporter of Logos Bible Software. I use it everyday, throughout the day.

Honestly, I'm not that impressed with the set you mentioned--there's some good there, but some of those titles weren't as helpful.

This is a much better collection in my opinion:

However, unless you have a lot of knowledge about the DSS and are really up on the scholarly literature, here's what I would recommend.

As primary a primary text, I absolutely prefer this version to the Vermes translation:

VanderKam's book, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is my absolute favorite overview of the scrolls. It is just about to be released for Logos. You can pre-order it here:

I also really like this collection of essays:

If you're just beginning your study in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I would highly recommend this "bundle".

Greg Hoerter said...

Thank you and Merry Christmas! I appreciate your very thoughtful response! It will help greatly!