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The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Vision of Religious History Unfolds

All-Day Program

Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Code: 1M2032
Temple Scroll, column 23, one of the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2nd cent. B.C.; The Israel Museum

The biblical archaeological find of the century was accidentally made by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave above the ancient ruins of Qumran on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. The boy stumbled across manuscripts now almost universally accepted to have been produced by the Essenes, a Jewish sect that vanished from history early in the Christian era. It was the first of 11 caves in the area to yield the ancient writings.

The initial discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, and their publication in 1948, changed the study of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Gary Rendsburg explores details of the documents’ discovery and what research has revealed about their origins and influence on the development of ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

9:30–10:45 a.m.  The Discovery: A Story in Itself

From the discovery in 1947 to the Dead Sea Scrolls in the digital age.

11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.  The Meaning of the Scrolls: The Story Continues

The religious practices and theological beliefs of the Essene community and how they differed from contemporary Pharisees, Sadducees, and other Jewish groups.   

12:15–1:30 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own)

1:30–2:45 p.m. The Scrolls and the History of Judaism

The Dead Sea Scrolls afford the opportunity to see new pathways of worship developing in Judaism, including the study of scripture, communal prayer, and more. 

3–4:15 p.m. The Scrolls and the History of Christianity

What the scrolls revealed about how Christianity emerged from the first-century panoply of Jewish sects.

Rendsburg is the Blanche and Irving Laurie professor of Jewish history at Rutgers University.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)