The following sites represent the best
available internet resources offering information on the Dead Sea Scrolls (abbreviated as
DSS). They are listed in order of relevance for someone beginning study of the material.
All of the sites contain links to further materials, in sum covering just about everything
of value related to DSS studies available on the internet. (Before surfing through these
links, it may be useful to read our introductory essay, The Story of the
Scrolls, which gives a quick orientation to the general history of the DSS discovery
and the debates surrounding the Scrolls.)
Unfortunately, resources on the internet often disappear or change location without notice. For this reason, we attempt to keep major reference sources in our own permanent and very stable archive.
General Introductory Materials
The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls: Israel Museum, Jerusalem. This excellent resource became available in September 2011. Complete digital reproductions of five principal scrolls from the Dead Sea are provided online; these are accompanied by several introductory video presentations. The following Scrolls are featured in the exhibit:
Scrolls from the Dead
Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran & Modern Scholarship (Exhibit from the
Library of Congress -- Another
online edition of the same material is available in a format that is easier to
navigate and read, and includes an outline.)
A brief introduction to the scrolls, with several excellent high-resolution color
images of scroll fragments, along with translations of the pictured texts, and images of
various associated artifacts. This 1993-94 travelling exhibit, first displayed at
the Library of Congress, was accompanied by commentary and a catalog almost exclusively
reflecting the standard "Qumran hypothesis" on origin of the scrolls -- much to
the objection of some critics of that viewpoint who felt it was an unbalanced presentation
of current understandings. (See the introductory essay presented on
this site for an explanation of the debate. Also read Dr. Norman Golb's critique
of the exhibit to get a glimpse of the issues in debate.)
The Dead Sea
Scrolls (Mahlon H. Smith, Associate Professor, Rutgers University) An
excellent timetable reviewing developments in DSS scholarship, with a series of imbedded
links to amplifying materials. Dr. Smith reviews development of the conflicting
viewpoints over the "Qumran Hypothesis". Dr. Smith seems sympathetic to
revisionist views on origins of the DSS.
Orion Center for the Study of the
Dead Sea Scrolls (Hebrew U) -- This is the "home"
of traditional DSS study, and continues to emphasize a traditional view about origins of
the DSS in a Qumran community. The most important resource at this site is a bibliography
of recent scholarship & papers from annual international symposium on the DSS. One of the interesting features on this site is a virtual tour of the Qumran caves.
Semitic Research Project: Dead Sea Scrolls (USC) A site specializing in the
photographic analysis of ancient texts relating to the bible, including texts from the DSS
collection. After viewing the previous resources, the material here will seem relatively
limited. Images of the discovery site and images of several scrolls along with a brief
commentary are posted on the site, including the messianic testimonia, rule of the messianic congregation, and copper scroll. An extensive catalog
of high resolution images of other scrolls is available to aid scholarly research.
Dead Sea Scrolls
& Qumran (As of 2011, this site has disappeared from the internet) -- Assembled by an avid
reader and amateur scholar, the site presents a fine and detailed introduction to the Dead
Sea Scrolls. Beyond the excellent introductory essays, useful resources presented
include an inventory
of manuscripts from Qumran, a timeline of
discoveries & profiles of persons who have been connected to the scroll saga, a bibliography
and glossary. The site's
design is a bit chaotic, but packed with content.
The Dead Sea
Scrolls (Ian Hutchesson) [Unfortunately the site
has disappeared from the web as of September 2006].The site presents a very succinct
"non-Essene" introduction to the scrolls, along with a collection
of concise introductory essays and a few more specialize papers. Useful resources
include a non-Essenes
introduction to the scrolls, a beginners' guide to common assumptions about
the DSS, an introduction to the Copper Scroll,
and a table listing the frequencies different
copies of specific scrolls were found in the DSS collection (the Qumran "greatest
hits" collection). The site has an attractive, very readable design.
Online Lectures and Interviews
Dead Sea Scrolls with Rachel Kohn -- (This site has disappeared from the internet, but we have archived a transcript of the lectures.) Read the lecture transcript of a 2000 seminar hosted by Australian Broadcasting, with Geza Vermes, Lawrence
Schiffman and Emanuel Tov -- principal representatives of the traditional Qumran-Essene
story of the Scrolls. Six scroll fragments are specifically discuss: 4Q22
(Exodus 6:25-7:19), 11Q5 (41 Biblical & Apocryphal psalms), 4Q169
(Nahum Commentary), 4Q260 (Community Rule), 4Q394
(Acts of Torah), 11Q14 (War Rule) -- all these are in our Scrolls collection.
Interview with Geza Vermes: The transcript of an interview by Rachel Kohn with Geza Vermes discussing his life work. The interview came on occasion of the publication of Geza Verme's Autobiography, Providential Accidents (1998).
of the Dead Sea Scrolls [Unfortunately, as of 2010 these following resources have apparently disappeared from the internet:] (From Lehrhaus
Judaica in San Francisco) A superb on-line course with five illustrated lectures by
Jehon Grist. It provides background on key persons involved in the controversy
surrounding the discovery and the struggle to publish the scrolls, the debate over the
character of the settlement at Qumran, and fine introductions to major scrolls in the DSS
collection, including the Temple Scroll, Copper Scroll, War Rule, Community Rule, Damascus
Covenant, Torah Precepts and Messiah Apocalypse. This is one of the more useful
DSS resources on the internet. The lectures also give an excellent overview of Jewish
history around the time of the Scrolls. Dr. Grist seems to accept general concepts of the
Qumran-Essene hypothesis regarding origins of the DSS.
Detailed Commentary on Specific Scrolls
Great Isaiah Scroll (Fred
Miller) -- This site presents the most impressive internet presentation
of a complete scroll from the DSS. While the site offers little of interest to a casual
reader, it gives glimpses into the issues involved in the analysis and translation of a
scroll. It includes black & white plates of each column of The Great Isaiah Scroll
(one of the first seven scrolls found in Cave 1, and the oldest extant Hebrew biblical
manuscript), along with detailed notes on the physical condition of the manuscript and
comparison of its orthography and wording with the standard Masoretic text. The
technical discussions of the site are obviously intended for scholars familiar with
Fragments of the Book of
Enoch from Qumran Cave (Ernest Muro - archived pdf file) Again, a document of limited general
interest. It is dedicated to the detailed analysis of a tiny scroll fragment in
Greek, once argued (inaccurately, it appears) to be from a New Testament text. (Of
course, the presence of a Christian text in the DSS find would have supported the original
efforts to link the Qumran texts with Christian history; this tiny fragment of Greek text
therefore became a focus of debate.) This site illustrates the complex task of
reconstructing, identifying and then interpreting DSS fragments. It includes photos of
the fragment with transcription and translation, as well as two articles (by E. Muro
Puech refuting claims that these are fragments of New Testament texts. (We have here archived a copy of the files which are not longer available on the internet.)
High-Resolution Images of Two Complete Major Scrolls
Great Isaiah Scroll -- Exhibition at the Israel Museum Jerusalem (The Dorot Foundation Dead Sea Scrolls Information and Study Center) with a detailed reproduction of the scoll.
The Temple Scroll -- Exhibition at the Israel Museum Jerusalem (The Dorot Foundation Dead Sea Scrolls Information and Study Center) with a detailed reproduction of the scoll and further detailed information on the scroll.