Just yesterday I posted about how chemical analysis of the Dead Scrolls show that they were made in the area they were found. Directly contradicting that, however, is this story from the National Geographic that suggests the scrolls originated elsewhere and were written by multiple Jewish groups.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered more than 60 years ago in seaside caves near an ancient settlement called Qumran. The conventional wisdom is that a breakaway Jewish sect called the Essenes—thought to have occupied Qumran during the first centuries B.C. and A.D.—wrote all the parchment and papyrus scrolls.
But new research suggests many of the Dead Sea Scrolls originated elsewhere and were written by multiple Jewish groups, some fleeing the circa-A.D. 70 Roman siege that destroyed the legendary Temple in Jerusalem.
“Jews wrote the Scrolls, but it may not have been just one specific group. It could have been groups of different Jews,” said Robert Cargill, an archaeologist who appears in the documentary Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls, which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.
The new view is by no means the consensus, however, among Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be very disputed,” said Lawrence Schiffman, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University (NYU).