Dead Sea Scrolls - WHY WERE THEY BURIED?

Although there are disagreements on why the scrolls were hidden, let's examine the evidence. Historians know that Jewish scribes buried their scrolls when they were old and no longer usable. If all the Qumran scrolls were old when they were buried, it's likely the caves were merely burial places for Scriptures sacred to the people who lived there.

Some of the scrolls are, indeed, ancient. The "Enoch" scroll was copied in Aramaic (a form of Hebrew) sometime between 200-150 B.C. In this fragment humankind is called to observe how unchanging nature follows God's will.

"Leviticus," found in 1956, was probably copied during the late 2nd/early 1st century B.C. "Hosea" also dates from the late 1st century B.C. Of the tens of thousands of additional fragments, some are from the 3rd century B.C.

Since there is good evidence the scrolls were buried in 68 A.D., or thereabouts, we could conclude the caves were merely a burial ground for old scrolls. Except for one thing. The scroll for "Psalms" (this link takes you to its translation) was most likely copied sometime between 30-50 A.D. It was practically new when it went into Qumran Cave 11.

What else was going-on in Israel, around the year 68 A.D.?

  • Rome was crushing Jewish insurrections.

  • Jewish rebels were sick of Roman rule.

  • Jerusalem itself was sacked by Rome in 70 A.D.

Many scholars believe Jewish scribes were trying to save their sacred texts by hiding them in the caves of Qumran. They knew full well Roman soldiers would destroy their treasures were they discovered.

Likely believing they would someday return, the scribes of Qumran wrapped the scrolls in linen cloth, fastened them with tabs and thongs and placed them inside clay jars that are unique to Qumran.

Then ... they fled the conquering soldiers and never returned.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Apr 16, 2014

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"WHY WERE THEY BURIED?" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2004. Jul 20, 2018.
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