The Dead Sea Scrolls are documents that have always created a sense of mystery inside my head. They’re old, worn, yellowed scriptures that no one even understands…until now that is. It’s taken a long, long time, but researchers have finally decoded the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls. That should make history.
Image Via Smithsonian Magazine
The University of Haifa was able to breakdown the scrolls first discovered in the 1940s near Qumran caves close to the Dead Sea. These scrolls, all 900 of them, have all sorts of scriptures and language transcribed on them, many of it is now in the Bible. Despite the scrolls dating back from 408 BCE – 318 CE, two researchers, Dr. Eshbal Ratson and Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov, found the code to be quite common, according to The Guardian.
The scroll is written in code, but its actual content is simple and well-known, and there was no reason to conceal it… This practice is also found in many places outside the land of Israel, where leaders write in secret code even when discussing universally known matters, as a reflection of their status. The custom was intended to show that the author was familiar with the code, while others were not.
Image Via DeadSeaScroll.org
The original author of the scroll (believed to be the leader of a sect) made several mistakes and left out many holidays. A scribe was forced to correct everything in the margins. There’s even a unique calendar that shows the strong beliefs of the Qumran sect. At the time it was used, it was unusual to use anything other than the lunar calendar. This caused a great debate against the 364-day calendar
The lunar calendar, which Judaism follows to this day, requires a large number of human decisions. People must look at the stars and moon and report on their observations… By contrast, the 364-day calendar was perfect…Because this number can be divided into four and seven, special occasions always fall on the same day. This avoids the need to decide, for example, what happens when a particular occasion falls on the Sabbath, as often happens in the lunar calendar. The Qumran calendar is unchanging.
Biblical and non-biblical stories and scriptures are found within this manuscript, which dates back two millennia. Who would have thought we’d ever get here? There’s still plenty more to decipher and decode for the researchers, but at least it won’t take as long… or, as the narrator in SpongeBob would say, two thousand years later.