Tidbit #1: Writing is born Sometime around 3400 BCE, a people called the Sumerians invented writing. They lived in what is today southern...

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Tidbit #1: Writing is born

Sometime around 3400 BCE, a people called the Sumerians invented writing. They lived in what is today southern Iraq. From there the idea of writing spread throughout the ancient Middle East and eventually beyond, with some cultures, such as the Babylonians and Assyrians, adopting and transforming the syllabic script used by the Sumerians (called “cuneiform” wedge-writing), for their own languages.

Other peoples, like the Egyptians, would create their own pictographic script. Eventually, an alphabetic script was invented and adopted by many different peoples for their own languages. In the days when Qumran was a living community, one alphabetic script was employed to write Hebrew and Aramaic, and another to write Greek. Romans in the region would speak Latin, and also have their own script.

Tidbit #2: A wealth of manuscripts

The caves near Qumran produced 236 biblical manuscripts and 565 manuscripts not found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Since the scrolls pre-date Christianity, no New Testament manuscripts were found. But all the biblical “books” are attested among the scrolls with the exception of Esther.


The non-biblical manuscripts include many texts that scholars had never seen before, including first-person accounts of biblical patriarchs, new psalms and hymns, liturgical calendars, prophecies, visions, a divinatory text, the last words of biblical figures such as Levi and Joseph, documents that outline sectarian practices and beliefs, biblical commentaries, and an apocalyptic account of a future war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.

Tidbit #3: Caves holding secrets


There are hundreds of caves in cliffs near the Dead Sea, but only 11 of them produced documents associated with the Dead Sea scrolls.


Not all the caves near Qumran that contained scrolls were discovered at once. The first was found in 1947, but the remaining ten would be discovered between 1952 and 1956. While some caves would yield only a single fragment, others would contain many more. One for example, contained more than 560 manuscripts.

For more information, go to www.uwalum.com/emeraldcitysearch.