Biblical Archaeology Review 24:2, March/April 1998

The Missing Link

Does a new inscription establish a connection between Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls?

By Frank Moore CrossEsther Eshel

Not a single fragment of a Dead Sea Scroll has been discovered among the ruins of Qumran, the ancient settlement adjacent to the caves where the scrolls were found. Although many scholars have long assumed that the people who lived in this desert outpost deposited the scrolls in the caves, they had no proof. Recently, excavators at the settlement discovered an inscription that may establish beyond doubt that the Qumran settlers were the people of the scrolls. But it is only fair to warn readers that the decipherment of this difficult inscription, presented here by two of the worldÆs leading paleographers and Dead Sea Scroll scholars, is highly controversial. Among other leading Israeli paleographers, Ada Yardeni, reads the inscription very differently. that will be the subject of an article in a subsequent issue.—Ed.

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