?] Bedouin shepherd finds 7 scrolls in jars in cave above Khirbet
British barricade Jewish settlements in Jerusalem to contain incidents
Ta'amireh Bedouin take scrolls to Bethlehem
antiquities dealer (Kando) who shows them to
the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem (Athanasius
Yeshue Samuel) who purchases 4 of them (including the Isaiah
scroll [above], Habakkuk commentary, Genesis Apocryphon &
the Community Rule) for about $250.
Another Bethlehem antiquities dealer (Feidi
Salahi) shows 2 other scrolls to Hebrew
University Prof. Eliezer Sukenik.
29] United Nations votes to partition Palestine between Arabs &
Sukenik buys 3 scrolls (another Isaiah scroll, the War
scroll, & Hodayoth) from Salahi.
Sukenik sees Archbishop Samuel's scrolls but fails to arrange
Syrian Orthodox monk shows Isaiah scroll to John
C. Trever at American Schools of Oriental
Research (ASOR) center in Jerusalem (Dr. Trever's name has been
misspelled "Trevor" in some references) who, with
ASOR colleague William Brownlee, photographs &
American archaeologist, William F.
Albright, confirms Trevor's identification of Isaiah scroll
as the oldest known Hebrew manuscript.
-- Archbishop Samuel gives ASOR director
Millar Burrows rights to publicize scrolls & takes scrolls to
Beirut as violence between Arabs & Jews increases.
||-- [Apr. 11] Burrows issues
press release announcing the discovery of the scrolls.
15] British leave Palestine. Jews establish state of Israel &
repel Arab attacks.
describes "The Discovery of the Scrolls" in Biblical Archaeologist
-- Prof. Sukenik publishes portions of his scrolls, identifying the
authors as Essenes.
-- G. L. Harding, British
director of antiquities for Jordan, launches search for scroll caves
with aid of Jordan's Arab Legion.
Harding authorizes Roland de Vaux
of French Dominican l'Ecole Biblique to survey Cave 1 where
the first 7 scrolls had been discovered. Many more fragments
recovered, including original Hebrew versions of Jubilees &
the Testament of Levi.
Archbishop Samuel brings 4 scrolls to U.S. to try to raise money for
Palestinian refugees & publishes account of his purchase in
Biblical Archaeologist 12 (26-31). Scrolls displayed in American
museums through 1951.
French scholar, André
Dupont-Sommer, publishes his Preliminary Views on the
Dead Sea Manuscripts, identifying them as the product of Essenes
& suggesting that they were composed at the still unexcavated site of
-- Skeptical historian, Solomon Zeitlin,
challenges "The Alleged Antiquity of the Scrolls" & claims they were
forgeries (Jewish Quarterly Review 40-41).
-- W. F. Albright engages Zeitlin in public debate in Philadelphia
presenting persuasive arguments for the authenticity of the scrolls
based on external evidence .
-- Trevor publishes photos of Isaiah scroll & a commentary on Habakkuk
||-- Burrows &
Brownlee publish text of 1QS as Manual of Discipline (1951).
-- Harding locates Kando & agrees to purchase all scrolls he can get
Fr. R. de Vaux begins excavation of Khirbet Qumran.
Bedouin discover 30 fragments of other scrolls in Cave 2, including
Jubilees & the ben Sirach in the original Hebrew.
Teams from ASOR explore other caves. Copper scroll found in Cave 3.
Kando sells De Vaux a large pile of fragments from another cave.
-- Jordanian consortium seeks funds from foreign museums &
universities to purchase more scrolls.
-- De Vaux locates Cave 4 less than 200 yards from Khirbet Qumran.
15000 of fragments of 574 mss. found including Aramaic versions 1
Enoch & Tobit, a scroll of Samuel that was closer to the
Greek Septuagint than the official Hebrew text & fragments of a copy
of the Damascus Covenant, a text that had been discovered in
1896 in the geniza of old Cairo synagogue.
-- Nearby Caves 5 & 6 yield fragments of other copies of the
||-- R. de
Vaux's lectures to the British Academy on his Qumran excavations
support Dupont-Sommer's hypothesis that the scrolls were written in
its "scriptorium" by Essenes.
-- Harding assembles international team of 8 scholars to work on
scrolls in east Jerusalem:
from U.S.: Frank Moore Cross
(McCormick) & Patrick Skehan
from U.K.: John Allegro
(Manchester) & John Strugnell
from France: Dominique Barthélemy
& Jean Starcky
from Germany: Claus-Hunno Hunziger
from Poland: Josef T. Milik.
De Vaux named project director.
son, Yigael Yadin, in the U.S.
arranges covert purchase of Archbishop Samuel's 4 scrolls for
-- Chaim Rabin (Oxford) re-edits
the fragments of the Zadokite Document
Yadin returns to Israel reuniting the 7 original scrolls.
Literary critic Edmund Wilson publishes article in
the New Yorker arguing Dupont-Sommer's observation of
parallels between the figure of the Teacher of Righteousness & Jesus
indicated that Christian ideas were borrowed from the scrolls.
Barthélemy & Milik publish the fragments of Cave 1.
-- Caves 7-10 south of Qumran yield other mss.
-- Allegro (of Manchester U) enlists Manchester College of Science &
Technology's aid in opening the Copper scroll. Sends preliminary
transcriptions listing huge buried treasure to de Vaux.
publishes The Dead Sea Scrolls, announcing that the Copper
scroll contained "an inventory of the the sect's most precious
-- De Vaux & Harding issue statement to French Academy dismissing the
Copper scroll's buried treasure as a fiction, incompatible with Essene
-- Rabin publishes article suggesting that the Copper scroll was
written by zealots who buried the Temple treasure.
-- In BBC broadcast Allegro claims to have found evidence that Qumran
sect worshipped a crucified Messiah & suggests that Christians
borrowed this story.
-- De Vaux, Milik, Starcky, Skehan & Strugnell send letter to London
Times challenging Allegro.
-- Allegro retracts claims & admits they were based on his
interpretation rather than on text.
-- Genesis Apocryphon unrolled at Hebrew U &
published by Yadin.
-- De Vaux's team of scholars complete reconstruction & photographing
of fragments of scrolls from Cave 4.
-- Bedouin sell Kando 7 scrolls from Cave 11 who sells 6 of them to
the Palestine Archaeological Museum which in turn auctions them to
European & American institutions
Jewish scholar, Cecil Roth,
proposes "A Solution to the Mystery of the Scrolls" (Commentary
24) identifying the authors as followers of the zealot leader,
Menachem, who was executed in Jerusalem by other Judean
rebels in 68 CE.
-- Theodore H. Gaster (Columbia U) publishes English
translations of 13 Dead Sea Scriptures from cave 1 claiming
that they "furnish a picture of the religious and cultural climate in
which John the Baptist conducted his mission and in which Jesus was
initially reared...and whose religious ideas served largely as the
seedbed of the New Testament" (12).
leaves Dead Sea scroll team. De Vaux gives his scrolls to
-- De Vaux finishes excavating Khirbet Qumran.
returns to Palestine to launch his own search for the treasure
described in Copper scroll, without success. De Vaux accuses him of
disturbing excavations for a treasure hunt.
-- Dupont-Sommer's Essene Writings from Qumran
details archaeological, paleographic & historical evidence supporting
classic hypothesis of the scrolls' origins.
-- Milik's survey of Ten Years of Discovery in the Judean
Wilderness suggests that the "last phase" of the Essene community
had militant zealot characteristics.
-- Milik publishes translation of Copper scroll in Revue Biblique
without mentioning his use of Allegro's transcriptions..
publishes his own book on The Treasure of the Copper Scroll
using unauthorized photos.
-- Death of Archaeological Museum's patron, John D.
Rockefeller Jr., ends main source of funding for work on
Transcription of Cave 4 scrolls completed; workshop dismantled &
scrolls locked in safe.
-- Photos of 574 texts divided among remaining scholars:
-- Cross & Skehan take responsibility for editing biblical scrolls;
Milik & Strugnell get 200 others.
||-- De Vaux
reviews Allegro's Copper Scroll book, attacking it as
imprecise & dishonest.
-- Yadin learns that Kando still had largest scroll from Cave 11 but
fails to negotiate purchase.
New translation of Dead Sea Scrolls in English by
Geza Vermes (Oxford) becomes popular introduction to Qumran
as the center of the Essene sect.
K. H. Rengstorf (U of
Münster) claims the Dead Sea scrolls originally came from the Temple
library in Jerusalem (Hirbet Qumran and the Problem of the Library
of the Dead Sea Caves).
-- Yadin begins excavation of Masada. Copies of Hebrew ben Sirach
& the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice found in Cave 4 of
Qumran discovered in Masada synagogue built by zealots.
British OT scholar, G. R. Driver, publishes The
Judean Scrolls: the Problem & a Solution challenging the accuracy
of De Vaux & Dupont-Sommer's interpretation of archaeological &
paleographic evidence in dating the scrolls & supporting Roth's
hypothesis of the 1st c. CE zealot origins of the scrolls.
-- Shrine of the Book (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem) opens exhibiting
major scrolls from Cave 1 & documents from the bar Kochba revolt.
Allegro publishes "The Untold Story of the Dead Sea Scrolls" in
Harpers Magazine, accusing de Vaux's team of deliberately
avoiding releasing scrolls because of content adverse to Christian
-- Driver & other eminent OT scholars sign letter in London Times
criticizing Allegro's charges.
-- Allegro persuades Jordan government to nationalize Palestine
5-10] Israel defeats Arabs in 6 Day War & occupies Palestine to
the Jordan, gaining control of Khirbet Qumran, the Rockefeller
Archaeological Museum & all the scrolls (except the Copper Scroll
& some fragments from Cave 1 that had been sent to Amman,
-- Yadin searches Kando's property in Bethlehem & finds the Temple
Scroll in a shoe box.
scholars de Vaux, Skehan, Starcky & Milik refuse to cooperate with
Israelis. Further publication of scrolls blocked.
Norman Golb (U of Chicago)
presents paper to ASOR Albright Insitute in Jerusalem, questioning
whether all Dead Sea scrolls were products of an Essene sect based at
Qumran, but is denied authorization to examine unpublished scrolls.
W.F. Albright & R. de Vaux die.
Fr. Pierre Benoit of Dominican
Ecole Biblique becomes project director, vowing to cooperate with
Israeli authorities to bring scrolls to publication.
-- Spanish Jesuit Jose O'Callaghan
publishes article in Biblica 53 interpreting fragments of
Greek scrolls from Cave 7 as remnants of New Testament books (Mark
6:52-53, 1 Tim 3:16-4:1 & James 1:23-24).
||-- Agreement reached to
publish scrolls under revised title (Discoveries in the Judean
Desert) without reference to modern political jurisdictions.
Lawrence Schiffman (NYU), an
expert in Jewish law, publishes The Halakah of Qumran based
on the regulations in the Damascus Covenant & the
publishes long-awaited Hebrew fragments of Book of Enoch
claiming that absence at Qumran of any text comparable to the
"parable" section of the Ethiopic version proved that the "son of Man"
passages in the Ethiopic text were later Christian insertions.
anniversary of scrolls' discovery prompts Geza Vermes to warn of
"academic scandal" if pace of publication of scrolls is not
-- Biblical Archaeologist editor,
David Noel Freedman, questions the ethics of a small
group of scholars having exclusive rights to study & publish the
scrolls "at their own...discretion" (p. 96).
||-- Allegro publishes
The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Christian Myth claiming that the
gospels were narrative fictions about a non-existent hero (Jesus)
based on the Teacher of Righteousness.
||-- Burrows &
Skehan die. Emanuel Tov &
Elisha Qimron (U of Negev) become first Israeli scholars to
work on the Dead Sea scrolls.
-- Philanthropist Elizabeth Bechtel
finances a re-photographing of the scrolls & has a microfilm of the
project made for herself.
publishes The Temple Scroll from Cave 11.
-- Ben Zion Wacholder (Hebrew
Union College) publishes The Dawn of Qumran: the Sectarian Torah &
the Teacher of Righteousness arguing that scrolls were written by
opponents of Jerusalem Zadokites.
-- Historian Robert Eisenman
(Cal State at Long Beach) publishes Maccabees, Zadokites,
Christians & Qumran arguing that the scrolls were produced by a
militant splinter group of Sadducees who who became the zealot
movement out of which John the Baptizer & early Christianity arose.
to lecture at the Rockefeller Museum, Golb argues that the absence of
autograph letters & legal documents among Dead Sea scrolls indicated
that they were not composed at Qumran.
-- Jerusalem post reports that Strugnell & Qimron had found a "letter
from the Teacher of Righteousness" to the Wicked Priest among Cave 4
-- Yadin & Brownlee die.
||-- Strugnell invites Schiffman to
elucidate the ritual laws in the Acts of Torah (4QMMT) &
sends him photos & transcriptions.
-- Eisenman publishes James the Just in the Habakkuk Pesher
(1QpHab) identifying the Teacher of Righteousness as the brother of
Jesus & his opponents -- "the Man of the Lie" & "the Wicked Priest" --
as Paul & Hanan II.
-- German scholar Carsten Thiede's
Earliest Gospel Manuscript? argues that O'Callaghan's
identification of 7Q5 as a fragment of Mark requires complete revision
of many modern assumptions about the composition of the gospels.
Benoit dies; succeeded by Strugnell.
-- Elizabeth Bechtel donates her private microfilm of the scrolls to
the Huntington Library (Cal) shortly before her death.
-- Vermes convenes London conference on 40th anniversary of discovery
of the scrolls & calls for immediate publication of all
photographs without transcription, commentary or editorial notes.
||-- Allegro &
-- German scholar G. Wilhelm Nebe
identifies 2 fragments from Cave 7 as portions of the epistle of Enoch
in Greek (Revue de Qumran 13).
Dutch Academy grants Wacholder permission to publish its fragment of a
2nd copy of the Temple scroll. Strugnell sends Wacholder
scroll photos & a concordance of unpublished
scrolls that had been made at his insistence 30 years earlier.
-- Oxford mediates $350,000 grant to expedite publication of the
Eisenman asks Strugnell for access to photos of Cave 4 scrolls of
Damascus Covenant. Strugnell refuses since Eisenmann lacked
training to interpret paleographic documents.
Herschel Shanks, editor of
Biblical Archaeological Review, calls for publication of
timetable for release of the scrolls & characterizes Strugnell's
response as a "hoax or fraud."
Shanks publishes correspondence between Eisenman & Strugnell. NY Times
& other newspapers run articles on debate between scholars over issue
of access to the scrolls.
-- Colloquium on scrolls in Mogilany, Poland issues resolution calling
for immediate publication of photos of the scrolls.
Israelis with access to scrolls begin to send Eisenman unauthorized
photos of the scrolls.
Schiffman publishes "The New Halakhic Letter (4QMMT) & the Origins of
the Dead Sea Sect" (Biblical Archaeologist 50), arguing that
the Essenes originated as schismatic Sadducees who withdrew from
Jerusalem when leading Sadducees accepted Hasmonean claims
9] Israeli newspaper HaAretz publishes interview in which
Strugnell characterized Judaism as "a horrible religion" & lamented
the survival of Jews as a group.
Eisenman shows 1700 scroll photos to U of Chicago
scroll specialist, Michael Wise, who immediately
30] Emanuel Tov replaces Strugnell as
editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls project.
Wacholder's request for further scroll photos denied.
Wacholder's assistant, Martin Abegg,
uses Strugnell's unpublished concordance to begin to reconstruct
transcription of original texts.
-- Golb & Wise launch Dead Sea Scrolls Project at U of
Chicago's Oriental Institute to decipher fragments from cave 4.
||-- [June 24]
Oxford announces receipt of a complete set of scroll photos &
formation of Forum for Qumran Research under direction of Vermes.
4] Herschel Shanks announces publication of Wacholder & Abegg's
computer-reconstructed transcription of scrolls based on Strugnell's
22] Huntington Library grants all "qualified scholars" access to
the Bechtel microfilm of the photos of the scrolls.
[Oct. 22] Israeli department of Antiquities announces
that it will grant access to official photos of the scrolls to
scholars who agree not to publish their findings.
20] Shanks publishes Eisenman's photos in A Facsimile Edition
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, co-edited by James M. Robinson.
25] At annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in
Kansas City MO, scroll project director, E. Tov,
announces lifting of all publication restrictions, allowing any
scholar to examine the official scroll photos & publish whatever was
-- SBL passes resolution affirming the right of all scholars to have
access to facsimile reproductions of all ancient manuscripts without
any publication restrictions
||-- In Jesus & the
Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls Barbara Thiering
(U of Sydney) interprets the scrolls as the product of rivalry between
the supporters of John the Baptizer (the "Teacher of Righteousness") &
Jesus (the "Man of the Lie").
Eisenman & Wise publish The Dead Sea Scrolls
Uncovered containing transcriptions & translations of 50 scrolls.
||-- [Apr.] Project Judaica
Foundation opens Scrolls from the Dead Sea Exhibit at Library
||-- Qimron &
Strugnell publish the Acts of Torah (4QMMT) but retract their
earlier claim that it was written by the Teacher of Righteousness.
-- Schiffman publishes Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls
developing his thesis that the Qumran sect was founded by schismatic
Sadducees, but insisting (like Golb) that many of the Dead Scrolls
were eclectic sources that were not composed at Qumran.
publishes Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? challenging the
identification of Qumran as an Essene settlement & updating
Rengstorf's argument that the scrolls came from libraries (of
different groups) in Jerusalem.
Israeli archaeologist Hanan Eshel announces discovery
of 4 sealed man-made caves near cave 4.
Bruce Zuckerman (USC) reports on his use of infra-red
photography & digital imaging to reconstruct the text & lacunae in
fragments of 4QDan & the potential of this technology for restoring
the text of other damaged scrolls.
French scholar Emile Puech supports Nebe against
Thiede in identifying Cave 7's Greek fragments as portions of 1 Enoch
rather than various New Testament books (Revue Biblique 103).
||-- Ernest Muro
uses computer scans to reassemble Cave 7
fragments, confirming Puech's identification of text as 1 Enoch 103 in
Greek (Revue de Qumran 70) & show that the controversial 7Q5
is probably not from any OT or NT book.
Distinguishing the worldview of sectarian scrolls found only at Qumran
from that of non-canonical works that circulated
elsewhere, Gabriele Boccaccini (UMich) goes
Beyond the Essene Hypothesis to argue that Qumran was not the
center of the Essene movement but rather the retreat of an extremist
splinter group that had separated from the main Enochic/Essene party.
Mason argues that the hypothesis identifying the authors of the
Dead Sea scrolls as Essenes ignores & distorts the accounts of
||After 10 years of excavation Magen & Peleg conclude that the settlement at Qumran could not have been a monastery, but rather was a pottery factory which was vacated by its few inhabitants during the Jewish-Roman war & that refugees from Jerusalem deposited the scrolls (possibly from the Temple library) in nearby caves.
--[Aug.] Bedouin find two miniature fragments of Leviticus from a Torah scroll in cave used by zealot refugees during bar Kochba revolt [135 CE]. These are the first scroll finds in 40 years.
|| [July 15] Eshel (Bar Ilan U) announces that he has obtained new scroll fragments, raising scholars' hopes that there may still be more to discover.
--[Nov] Eshel arrested for engaging in the illegal trade of antiquities but is released without charges being filed. Eshel's scroll fragments confiscated by the Israeli Antiquities Authority [IAA], sparking new controversy between scholars & the Israeli government.
||[Dec. 15] Golb criticizes traveling exhibit of Dead Sea scrolls for inaccurately identifying scrolls by promoting classic Essene thesis & failing to acknowledge recent findings that support alternative interpretations.
||[May] Eshel complains that the IAA has mutilated the newfound Torah scroll fragments to run tests to try to prove them forgeries.
--[Dec. 5] Italy's Central Institute for Restoration and Institute for Book Pathology announces joint project to preserve Dead Sea scrolls from further deterioration.