Ancient Hebrew scrolls reveal earliest copy of Old Testament


An extremely fragile, ancient Hebrew scroll has been digitally unwrapped for the first time, revealing the earliest copy ever found of an Old Testament Bible scripture, researchers said Wednesday.

Known as the En-Gedi scroll, it contains text from the Book of Leviticus, and dates at least to the third or fourth century, possibly earlier, according to the report in the journal Science Advances.

The deciphering of its contents is described in the journal as a “significant discovery in biblical archeology.”

The scroll is not the oldest ever found — that honor belongs to the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls which range from the third century BC to the second century of the common era (AD).

Radiocarbon analysis has shown that the En-Gedi scroll dates to the third or fourth century AD.

Some experts think it is older than that. An analysis of the handwriting style and the way the letters are drawn suggests it could be even older, dating to the second half of the first century or the beginning of the second century AD.

Its contents were long thought to be lost forever, because it was burned in a fire in the 6th century and was impossible to touch without dissolving into chunks of ash.

The scroll was found by archeologists in 1970 at En-Gedi, the site of a large, ancient Jewish community dating from the late eighth century BC.

Its fragments were preserved by the Israel Antiquities Authority for decades.

“Each fragment’s main structure, completely burned and crushed, had turned into chunks of charcoal that continued to disintegrate every time they were touched,” said the study.

So researchers used advanced digital scanning tools to “virtually unwrap” the scroll and see its contents.

A micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scan was able to pick up traces of metal in the ink.

Before the scroll was virtually unwrapped, experts believed the artifact may have been a Torah scroll.

But a look at the images showed it was the Book of Leviticus, from the third book of the Book of Moses.

This makes it the earliest Pentateuchal book — relating to the first five books of the Jewish or Christian scriptures — ever found.

“We were amazed at the quality of the images,” said Michael Segal, head of the School of Philosophy and Religions at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Much of the text is as readable, or close to as readable as actual unharmed Dead Sea Scrolls or high resolution photographs of them.”

The scroll shows 18 lines of text in each column, which were originally 35 lines long.

Like other ancient Hebrew scrolls, it contains only consonants and no vowels.

Symbols for vowels were not introduced in Hebrew until the 9th century.

“We were immediately struck by the fact that in these passages, the En-Gedi Leviticus scroll is identical in all of its details both regarding its letter and section division to what we call the Masoretic text, the authoritative Jewish text until today,” said Segal.

The En-Gedi Leviticus scroll “is the most extensive and significant biblical text from antiquity that has come to light” since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he added.

Researchers hope the techniques developed to read it will be used on other scrolls, including some from the Dead Sea Scroll collection, which have remained undecipherable until now.

“Damage and decay is the natural order of things, but you can see that sometimes you can absolutely pull a text back from the brink of loss,”said co-author Brent Seales, professor and chairman in the department of computer science at the University of Kentucky.

“The En-Gedi scroll is proof positive we can potentially recover whole texts from damaged material, not just a few letters or a speculative word,” said Seales.


interesting..not sure how they manage to read anything on it..

“The scroll shows 18 lines of text in each column, which were originally 35 lines long. Like other ancient Hebrew scrolls, it contains only consonants and no vowels.”

so exactly how old is it?

“The scroll was found by archeologists in 1970 at En-Gedi, the site of a large, ancient Jewish community dating from the late eighth century BC.”


~ by seeker401 on September 26, 2016.

18 Responses to “Ancient Hebrew scrolls reveal earliest copy of Old Testament”

  1. Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception

    3 -The Scandal of the Scrolls

    Fourteen years later, in 1969, this text was expanded again, to encompass new material, and was reissued at virtually twice its former length. To this day, it remains one of the basic and most popular investigative works on the Qumran scrolls by an outsider. But even if Wilson was an outsider in the realm of biblical scholarship, he was certainly no mere amateur or dabbler; not even de Vaux’s international team could impugn his integrity or ‘high seriousness’. Wilson was thus able, on behalf of the literate public, to call them in some sense to account.

    As early as 1955, Wilson detected a desire on the part of the ‘experts’ to distance the Qumran scrolls from both Judaism and Christianity.
    The ‘experts’, it seemed to him, were protesting rather too vehemently, and this aroused his suspicions:
    As soon as one sets out to study the controversies provoked by the Dead Sea Scrolls, one
    becomes aware of a certain ‘tension’… But the tension does not all arise from the at first much
    disputed problems of dating, and the contention about the dating itself had, perhaps, behind it other
    anxieties than the purely scholarly ones.1
    Wilson stressed how much the scrolls had in common with both rabbinical Judaism, as it was emerging during the 1st century ad, and with the earliest forms of Christianity; and he noted a marked ‘inhibition’, on the part of both Judaic and Christian-oriented scholars, to make the often obvious connections:
    One would like to see these problems discussed; and in the meantime, one cannot but ask oneself
    whether the scholars who have been working on the scrolls – so many of whom have taken
    Christian orders or have been trained in the rabbinical tradition – may not have been somewhat
    inhibited in dealing with such questions as these by their various religious commitments… one
    feels a certain nervousness, a reluctance, to take hold of the subject and to place it in historical
    In accordance with scholarly decorum, Wilson is, of course, being tactful, couching a fairly serious charge in the most diplomatic of language.
    He himself had no compunction about taking hold of the subject and placing it in historical perspective:
    If, in any case, we look now at Jesus in the perspective supplied by the scrolls, we can trace a
    new continuity and, at last, get some sense of the drama that culminated in Christianity… The
    monastery [of Qumran]… is perhaps, more than Bethlehem or Nazareth, the cradle of
    It is, alas, characteristic and typical of biblical scholarship, and particularly of scholarship associated with the scrolls, that such a connection should be made not by the ‘experts’ in the field, but by an astute and informed observer. For it was Wilson who gave precise and succinct expression to the very issues the international team endeavored so diligently to avoid.


    Any partial or premature disclosure, he felt, might jeopardize everything. For what the ‘Copper Scroll’ contained was a list of secret sites where the treasure of the Temple of Jerusalem was alleged to have been buried.

    The second fragment was received in Manchester in January 1956. It was quickly sliced open and translated. Both fragments, along with accompanying translations, were then returned to Jerusalem. Only then did the real delays begin. De Vaux and the international team were worried about three things.

    Their first concern was valid enough. If the contents of the scroll were made public and stories of buried treasure began to circulate, the Bedouin would be digging up the entire Judaean desert, and much of what they found might disappear for ever or elude scholarly hands and slip into the black market. Something of this sort was, in fact, already occurring. On discovering or learning of a potentially productive site, the Bedouin would set up a large black tent over it, loot it, pick it clean and sell their plunder privately to antique dealers.

    De Vaux and the international team were also worried that the treasure inventoried in the ‘Copper Scroll’ might actually exist – might be a real treasure rather than an imaginary one. If it were indeed real, it would inevitably attract the attention of the Israeli government, who would almost certainly lay claim to it. Not only might this remove it from the authority of the international team. It might also trigger a major political crisis; for while Israel’s claim might be legitimate enough, much of the treasure, and the scroll specifying its location, would have been found in Jordanian territory.

    If the treasure were real, moreover, there were theological grounds for concern. De Vaux and the international team had been intent on depicting the Qumran community as an isolated enclave, having no connection with public events, political developments or the ‘mainstream’ of 1st-century history.
    If the ‘Copper Scroll’ did indeed indicate where the actual contents of the Temple lay hidden, Qumran could no longer be so depicted. On the contrary, connections would become apparent between Qumran and the Temple, the centre and focus of all Judaic affairs. Qumran would no longer be a self-contained and insulated phenomenon, but an adjunct of something much broader – something that might encroach dangerously on the origins of Christianity. More disturbing still, if the ‘Copper Scroll’ referred to a real treasure, it could only be a treasure removed from the Temple in the wake of the AD 66 revolt. This would upset the ‘safe’ dating and chronology which the international team had established for the entire corpus of scrolls.

    The combination of these factors dictated a cover-up. Allegro at first colluded in it, assuming that delays in releasing information about the ‘Copper Scroll’ would only be temporary. In consequence, he agreed not to mention anything of the scroll in the book he was preparing – his general introduction to the Qumran material, scheduled to be published by Penguin Books later in 1956. In the meantime, it was arranged, Father Milik would prepare a definitive translation of the ‘Copper Scroll’, which Allegro would follow with another ‘popular’ book pitched to the general public.

    Allegro had consented to a temporary delay in releasing information about the ‘Copper Scroll’. He certainly didn’t expect the delay to prolong itself indefinitely. Still less did he expect the international team to defuse the scroll’s significance by dismissing the treasure it inventoried as purely fictitious. When Milik proceeded to do so, Allegro did not at first suspect any sort of conspiracy ……

  3. 9 – The Scrolls

    The ‘Copper Scroll’
    Found in the Qumran cave designated number 3, the ‘Copper Scroll’ simply lists, in the dry fashion of an inventory, sixty-four sites where a treasure of gold, silver and precious religious vessels is alleged to have been hidden. Many of the sites are in Jerusalem proper, some of them under or adjacent to the Temple. Others are in the surrounding countryside, perhaps as far afield as Qumran itself.
    If the figures in the scroll are accurate, the total weight of the various scattered caches amounts to sixty-five tons of silver and twenty-six tons of gold, which would be worth some £30 million at today’s prices. It is not a particularly staggering sum as such things go – a sunken Spanish treasure galleon, for example, would fetch far more – but not many people would turn their noses up at it; and the religious and symbolic import of such a treasure would place it, of course, beyond all monetary value.
    Although this was not publicized when the contents of the scroll were originally revealed, the text clearly establishes that the treasure derived from the Temple – whence it was removed and secreted, presumably to protect it from the invading Romans. One can therefore conclude that the ‘Copper Scroll’ dates from the time of the Roman invasion in AD 68. As we have noted, certain members of the international team, such as Professor Cross and the former Father Milik, deemed the treasure to be wholly fictitious.
    Most independent scholars now concur, however, that it did exist. Nevertheless, the depositories have proved impossible to find. The directions, sites and landmarks involved are indicated by local names long since lost; and the general configuration and layout of the area has, in the course of two thousand years and endless wars, changed beyond all recognition.

    In 1988, however, a discovery was made just to the north of the cave in which the ‘Copper Scroll’ was found. Here, in another cave, three feet or so below the present surface, a small jug was exhumed, dating from the time of Herod and his immediate successors. The jug had clearly been regarded as very valuable, and had been concealed with extreme care, wrapped in a protective cover of palm fibers. It proved to contain a thick red oil which, according to chemical analysis, is unlike any oil known today.
    This oil is generally believed to be balsam oil – a precious commodity reported to have been produced nearby, at Jericho, and traditionally used to anoint Israel’s rightful kings.1 The matter cannot be definitively established, however, because the balsam tree has been extinct for some fifteen hundred years.

    If the oil is indeed balsam oil, it may well be part of the treasure stipulated in the ‘Copper Scroll’. In any case, it is an incongruously costly commodity to have been used by a community of supposedly isolated ascetics in the desert. As we have noted, however, one of the most important features of the ‘Copper Scroll’ is that it shows Qumran not to have been so isolated after all.
    On the contrary, it would seem to establish links between the Qumran community and factions associated with the Temple in Jerusalem.

    • nice article with some great info..

      • 7 – The Inquisition Today

        In 1909, a similar decree affirmed the literal and historical accuracy of the first three chapters of Genesis. More recently, on 21 April 1964, the Commission issued a decree governing biblical scholarship in general and, more specifically, the ‘historical truth of the Gospels’. The decree was quite unequivocal, stating that ‘at all times the interpreter must cherish a spirit of ready obedience to the Church’s teaching authority’.8

        It further declared that those in charge of any ‘biblical associations’ are obliged to ‘observe inviolably the laws already laid down by the Pontifical Biblical Commission’.9 Any scholar working under the Commission’s aegis – and this, of course, includes those at the Ecole Biblique – is thus in effect constrained by the Commission’s decrees. Whatever conclusions he might reach, whatever the revelations to which his research might lead him, he must not, in his writing or his teaching, contradict the Commission’s doctrinal authority.

        The head of the Pontifical Biblical Commission today is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger is also head of another Catholic institution, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This designation is fairly new, dating from 1965, and probably unfamiliar to most laymen; but the institution itself is one of long-established pedigree. It has, in fact, a unique and resonant history behind it, extending back to the 13th century. In 1542, it had become known officially as the Holy Office.

        Prior to that, it was called the Holy Inquisition. Cardinal Ratzinger is, in effect, the Church’s modern-day Grand Inquisitor.

        The official head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is always the reigning Pope, and the executive head of the Congregation is today called its secretary, although in earlier times he was known as the Grand Inquisitor. Of all the departments of the Curia, that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the most powerful.

        Ratzinger is perhaps the closest to the Pope of all the Curia cardinals. Certainly they have many attitudes in common. Both wish to restore many pre-Vatican II values. Both dislike theologians. Ratzinger sees theologians as having opened the Church up to corrosive secular influences. A deeply pessimistic man, he feels that the Church is ‘collapsing’, and only the suppression of all dissent can assure its survival as a unified faith. He regards those who do not share his pessimism as ‘blind or deluded’.10

        Like the Inquisition of the past, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in large part a tribunal. It has its own judges, the chief of whom is called the ‘Assessor’. The ‘Assessor’ is aided by a ‘Commissar’ and two Dominican monks. These individuals have the specific task of preparing whatever ‘investigations’ the Congregation chooses to undertake. Such investigations generally pertain to breaches of doctrine on the part of clerics, or anything else that might threaten Church unity.

        As in the Middle Ages, all investigations are conducted and pursued under conditions of total secrecy.
        If a theologian begins to question Church doctrine, he is thus, by skilful psychological manipulation, made to feel morally tainted for doing so. Any propensity to question is effectively turned back on the questioner and transformed into guilt – something in which the Church has always trafficked most profitably.
        In the same document, Cardinal Ratzinger states:
        The freedom of the act of faith cannot justify a right to dissent. This freedom does not indicate
        freedom with regard to the truth, but signifies the free determination of the person in conformity
        with his moral obligations to accept the truth.22
        In other words, one is perfectly free to accept the teachings of the Church, but not to question or reject them. Freedom cannot be manifested or expressed except through submission. It is a curious definition of freedom.

        Such restrictions are monstrous enough when imposed on Catholics alone – monstrous in the psychological and emotional damage they will cause, the guilt, intolerance and bigotry they will foster, the horizons of knowledge and understanding they will curtail. When confined to a creed, however, they apply only to those who voluntarily submit to them, and the non-Catholic population of the world is free to ignore them.

        The Dead Sea Scrolls, however, are not articles of faith, but documents of historical and archaeological importance which belong properly not to the Catholic Church, but to humanity as a whole. It is a sobering and profoundly disturbing thought that, if Cardinal Ratzinger has his way, everything we ever learn about the Qumran texts will be subject to the censorship machinery of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – will be, in effect, filtered and edited for us by the Inquisition.

      • I visited Qumran in 1979 .. I found Qumran more interesting than all the other sites as it was still as it was 2000 years ago and wondered why they hadn’t managed to build an abominable church over the site.

        I think both Jews and Catholics are threatened by the DSS as the DSS predate the Jew OT Masoretic by 1250 years .. the DSS include every book of the OT except the Book of Esther .. the Essenes did not accept the Book of Esther and were opposed to the feast of Purim.

        Its also interesting out of all those scrolls, there is no mention of the Oral Torah .. the Talmud .. it is also clear the Essenes entire focus was an End Time scenario as described in Matt 24 concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple .. they never mentioned returning in 1948 to reclaim the land.

        • when could the talmud have been written then?

          • it was never intended to be written thus Oral Torah .. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for the Traditions of the Elders .. it must be understood the Pharisees were Edomites and imo identifies the Essenes as true Israelites .. the Edomite Pharisees threatened with dispersion after the destruction of the temple and later the Bar Kokhba revolt 132 – 135 AD they were forced to commit their religion to writing

            • ahh of bad..thanks mate..

              • The Essenes were first century preppers .. survivalists .. they knew the NWO was coming .. they fled Jerusalem when Herod’s Edomite crew started killing the priests in the temple .. among them John the Baptists father high priest Zechariah making John the Baptist the last high priest .. I am convinced he escaped to Qumran .. the Essenes were not jews .. the Essenes are proof the jews are not who they claim to be .. the jews want everyone to believe the Essenes were just a crazy cult, having no connection to the temple .. why then were they in possession of the temple inventory?
                The jews are liars .. they are Edomite Khazars .. they are the synagogue of satan
                The Essenes are in fact the very people the jews are claiming to be.

                • the Essenes were not jews .. the Essenes are proof the jews are not who they claim to be .. the jews want everyone to believe the Essenes were just a crazy cult, having no connection to the temple .. why then were they in possession of the temple inventory?


              • Could Israel lose the Dead Sea Scrolls?

                From 1947-1956, experts from the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem and Jordan’s Department of Antiquities excavated the Qumran caves, rescuing hundreds of fragments of scrolls. Up until the Six Day War, the scrolls were housed in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, under Jordanian control…

                Since UN Resolution 2334 explicitly refers to the “4 June 1967 lines,” and says all land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is “occupied Palestinian land,” the Palestinians have the capacity to contend with increased gusto that the scrolls were acquired illegally by Israel.

                The Qumran caves are located in what is now Area C of the West Bank, which was put under Israeli civil and military control, pursuant to the 1993 Oslo Accords. Area C is, however, considered by the PA to be part of its future state.


    • thanks, Rev.

      guess who is the actual owner of more than 15000 of those documents?


      “Elior says Josephus, inspired by descriptions of life in the Greek city of Sparta, made the Essenes up.

      “There is no historical testimony in Hebrew or Aramaic of the Essenes. It is unthinkable that thousands of people lived abstemiously, contrary to Torah laws, and nobody wrote anything about it,” she said. ” –

    • what would be the goal of the dead see scrolls deception, Rev?

    • “On the contrary, it would seem to establish links between the Qumran community and factions associated with the Temple in Jerusalem.”

      I thought that had been well established, but it may just be something new that is widely known now (or just the circle I am in).

      Archaeological finds are always interesting.

  4. Allegro’s honor and generosity, however, were not to be rewarded, or even recognized. The film, completed by the end of 1957, was not transmitted by the BBC until the summer of 1959, and then only in a late-night slot which attracted a minimal audience. By that time, understandably enough, Allegro was beginning to grow uneasy.

    On 10 January 1959, after the latest in a long series of postponements, he wrote to Awni Dajani:
    Well, they’ve done it again. For the fifth time the BBC have put off showing that TV program
    on the Scrolls… There can be no reasonable doubt now that De Vaux’s cronies in London are
    using their influence to kill the program, as he wished… De Vaux will stop at nothing to
    control the Scrolls material. Somehow or other he must be removed from his present controlling
    position. I am convinced that if something does turn up which affects the Roman Catholic dogma,
    the world will never see it. De Vaux will scrape the money out of some or other barrel and send
    the lot to the Vatican to be hidden or destroyed…44
    After repeating what he’d come increasingly to see as a viable short-term solution – nationalization of the Rockefeller Museum, the ‘Scrollery’ and the scrolls by the Jordanian government – he reveals the sense of punctilio to which he’d previously felt subject: ‘I might even let out an instance or two when information has been suppressed – but I’ll only do that if De Vaux looks like winning.’45

    In 1961, King Hussein appointed Allegro honorary adviser on the scrolls to the government of Jordan. The post, however, though prestigious enough, entailed no real authority.

    It was not until November 1966, five years later, that the Jordanian government finally acted on Allegro’s suggestion and nationalized the Rockefeller Museum. By then, as we have seen, it was too late. Within the year, the Six Day War was to erupt, and the museum, the ‘Scrollery’ and its contents all passed into Israeli hands; and Israel, as we have noted, was too much in need of international support to risk a head-on confrontation with the Vatican and the Catholic hierarchy. Only four years before, Pope John XXIII had officially and doctrinally exculpated the Jews of any responsibility for Jesus’ death, and excised all vestiges of anti-Semitism from Roman Catholic Canon Law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: