The Dead Sea Scrolls
A set of three facsimiles of the most complete Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Cave 1 above Qumran near the Dead Sea in 1947, now in the Shrine of the Book, Jerusalem, and a further three fragments from Cave 4, now in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Amman, Jordan.
A strictly limited facsimile edition of 49 numbered sets.
1QIsa - The Great Isaiah Scroll
1QS - The Manual of Discipline
1QpHab - The Habakkuk Commentary
4Q175 - Testimonia fragment
4Q162 - Pesher Isaiahb (commentary) fragment
4Q109 - Qohelet fragment
ISBN 0 948223 26X
The above set of three Cave 1 scrolls including three Cave 4 fragments
Found inadvertently in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls are regarded by many as the most important archaeological find of the twentieth century.
Mystery and intrigue surrounded their acquisition and there are many accounts of their subsequent ‘wanderings’ as they continued to change hands after their discovery.
While many of the manuscripts have suffered the ravages of time the ancient people who hid the scrolls in the caves sealed some of them in clay jars, often wrapped in linen covers to help preserve them. The skins of most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are leather or parchment, light brown or yellowish in colour. The finest scrolls are almost white. The scrolls are believed to have been treated with salt and flour to remove the hair, and tanned with gall-nut liquid that was lightly brushed on or sprinkled over both surfaces of the skin. Most of the scrolls were written with carbon ink (powdered charcoal) which was fairly easy to erase. Yigael Yadin established that the Dead Sea scrolls generally conform to the later Talmudic rules for the writing of sacred scrolls.
The first seven scrolls came into the hands of dealers in antiquities who offered them to scholars. The first to recognise their antiquity was Professor Eleazar Sukenik, father of Yigael Yadin, who succeeded in acquiring three of them for the Hebrew University and between 1948 and 1950 he published specimens from them.
Sukenik recollected, "My hands shook as I started to unwrap one of them. I read a few sentences. It was written in beautiful biblical Hebrew. The language was like that of the Psalms, but the text was unknown to me. I looked and looked, and I suddenly had the feeling that I was privileged by destiny to gaze upon a Hebrew scroll which had not been read for more than 2,000 years."
Four other scrolls, sold by the Bedouin to the Bethlehem antiquities dealer Kando who in turn sold them to Mar Athaniasius Samuel, the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Christian community, were independently recognized as ancient and photographed by Dr. John Trever and Dr. William Brownlee in Jerusalem in 1948. Mar Samuel brought them to the United States where they were exhibited first in 1949. The photographs of two were published in 1950: the Great Isaiah Scroll and the Commentary on Habakkuk. Photographs of the Manual of Discipline were published in 1951. Subsequently in 1954, the Government of Israel, with the help of a donation from Samuel Gottesman, purchased the scrolls which are now housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.
In 1949 Gerald Lankester Harding and Father Roland de Vaux excavated Qumran Cave 1 and found fragments from seventy more original scrolls. Between 1951 and 1962 tens of thousands of additional scroll fragments were discovered, mostly by Bedouin, in 10 more caves near Qumran and in several other locations in the Judaean Desert. It has taken 60 years to publish this vast collection.
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Yadin obtained the Temple Scroll. As a result of the capture of East Jerusalem by Israel the major collections from Qumran Caves 2-11 and Wadi Murabba‘at in the Palestine Archaeological Museum (renamed in 1967 the Rockefeller Museum) in East Jerusalem came under the control of the Israel Department of Antiquities. The only major scroll not in Jerusalem was the Copper Scroll which together with other scroll fragments was on display in Amman, Jordan. These are displayed today in the National Archaeological Museum of Jordan.
While scholars wrestle with the contents of the scrolls, their antiquity is no longer in question. What is remarkable is that the text of many of these Hebrew manuscripts has hardly changed over the course of 2000 years.
These three facsimiles represent some of the largest and most important Dead Sea Scrolls: The Great Isaiah Scroll, the Manual of Discipline, and the Habakkuk Commentary.
The Great Isaiah Scroll, 1QIsa
The Isaiah Scroll is the only complete biblical book surviving among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Found in Cave One at Qumran in 1947, it dates from about 120 BCE.
The text of the scroll hardly differs from the version used today and demonstrates the degree to which the text of the Bible was faithfully transmitted over the centuries.
The Manual of Discipline, 1QS
Also discovered in Cave One at Qumran, this scroll fragment is known variously as the Manual of Discipline and the Rule of the Community and was in two pieces when it was brought by the Bedouin to Bethlehem in 1947. It embodies the rules of conduct for the Qumranites themselves, rules which are additional to the 613 commandments found in the Pentateuch (Torah).
These rules of conduct regulated interpersonal relationships and matters of personal piety in a Jewish community which had apparently separated itself both geographically and ideologically from the more mainstream sects of Judaism in Jerusalem.
The Habakkuk Commentary, 1QpHab
The Habakkuk Commentary, also discovered in Qumran Cave One, is part of a group of literature found in several caves at Qumran, which have come to be known by the Hebrew word pesharim, “commentaries.” These explanations often interpret the biblical text with reference to events in the writer’s own time, the recent past, or the near future. Other such commentaries found at Qumran explain in this way the biblical books of Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Psalms, Hosea, and Nahum.
On the 8th November 2006 Facsimile Editions received an email from Dr Weston Fields, Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation in Jerusalem, asking if they would be willing to advise on the production of facsimiles of three of the most important scrolls found in 1947 in a cave on the shores of the Dead Sea. The Great Isaiah Scroll 1QIsa, the Manual of Discipline 1QS and the Habakkuk Commentary 1QpHab were some of the first and most complete scrolls to be found among the thousands of fragments in caves near Qumran and elsewhere along the Dead Sea during the following two decades.
Three days later Dr Fields arrived in London to explain the project. An exhibition centred on the Dead Sea Scrolls was to open in Seoul, South Korea, in just under a year’s time on 1st November 2007. The organisers had originally believed that the Israel Museum and the Israel Antiquities Authority would be willing to loan a few of their most treasured scrolls and fragments for this exhibition, but the negotiations were not successful. The Koreans were facing the prospect of an exhibition without any scrolls. Could Facsimile Editions help?
Never known to turn down a challenge, Linda and Michael Falter readily offered their expertise and started researching the many new techniques and materials that would be needed to produce facsimile scrolls of such realism so as not to disappoint the anticipated two million visitors to the exhibition. It was vital to get it right, especially since the facsimiles would sit alongside original fragments from Jordan.
The Isaiah scroll is approximately seven metres long and is made up of 17 parchment sheets, sewn end to end. The scroll’s edges are damaged, some of the sewing is missing and there are many hairline cracks and holes. The complex matter of reproducing material written some 2,100 years earlier was about to lead them on a fascinating adventure.
Dr Fields explained that the scrolls had been photographed in 1948 on medium format film in Jerusalem soon after their discovery in 1948. John Trever, an accomplished photographer, and William Brownlee, both young American post-doctoral fellows at the American School of Oriental Research (today, the William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research) had worked together setting up a ‘studio’ in the basement of the American School.
This was particularly interesting as it meant that by using these photographs it would be possible to reproduce images of the Scrolls as they were found in 1947, without the wear, tear and damage that they had sustained in the seven years before their arrival in Israel in 1954.
The original photographs are now owned by John Trever’s family and stored at the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, California. Once permission had been received from John Trever’s son, James, the priceless photographs were carried by hand to Milan, Italy, where they were scanned and then immediately returned to the vault in the USA. Fortunately, every detail of the text was clearly apparent and better still, the original sewing was still discernable. Sadly, most of the original stitches no longer exist today as the scrolls were moved frequently and handled and stored in less than ideal conditions in the early years after their discovery.
Once scanned the painstaking work of colour separation, correction and printing started and a special paper was prepared to replicate closely the feel and texture of the scrolls’ parchment.
Over the centuries, holes and blemishes have become apparent in the scrolls and the parchment, having reacted to the many changes in temperature and humidity, is no longer flat. Using computer-controlled lasers, the facsimile scrolls were cut to the precise outline of the originals. Even the smallest holes and hairline cracks were reproduced. Another specially developed process, used to reproduce the cockling found on millennia-old manuscripts, buckled the paper so authentically that it is hard to tell the facsimiles from an original manuscript.
As the 1948 photographs show the scrolls’ stitches in perfect detail the Falters could not resist the challenge of copying them too. Each stitch is sewn by hand using a specially dyed linen thread, further enhancing the accuracy, authentic feel and appearance of the facsimiles.
Finally, in November 2007, the work was completed and the scrolls presented to some very excited and relieved exhibitors in Seoul. The exhibition closed in June 2008.
The edition has been produced in two parts. The first three sets produced were acquired for the exhibition in Seoul and one was subsequently purchased from the Koreans by the British Library in London (see letter).
In the second part, 49 sets of three scrolls have been produced to the identical quality and specification for sale to libraries, museums and serious collectors. A certificate of authenticity signed by the Publishers and the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation will accompany each set of three scrolls.
The scroll images used on this webpage are all taken from the printed facsimiles.
The quality of the facsimiles of the first three Dead Sea Scrolls was such that Facsimile Editions was asked to produce facsimiles of some of Jordan's scroll fragment treasures housed at the National Archaeological Museum in Amman: Ecclesiastes (Qohelet) (4Q109), Pesher Isaiahb (4Q162) and Testimonia (4Q175). Based on photos taken by Bruce and Ken Zuckerman, they are made to the same standard as the Scrolls. The level of realism achieved is truly remarkable.
The fragments are contained in a folder within the box and can safely be displayed in the specially-made three layer museum quality Lucite frames which are cut to the exact outline of each fragment and then engraved with a brief description.
The scrolls and fragments are contained within a hand-made cloth-covered archival case made by hand by one of the finest binders in the UK. Each scroll is rolled and interleaved with archival tissue and is safely housed in its own compartment. The titles are gold-embossed on parchment.
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