Biblical Archaeology Review 37:4, July/August 2011

Isaiah Among the Scrolls

By Hershel Shanks

In 2011, more than 60 years after the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by the Bedouin in what became known as Qumran Cave 1, a splendid new edition of the Great Isaiah Scroll—1QIsaa, in more technical language—has been published in the official scroll series, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD). It is Volume 32—or XXXII, as it prefers to call itself—and includes two sub-volumes, Parts 1 and 2. This brings to completion the 40-volume series.1

Ultimately, more than 900 different manuscripts were discovered in the caves near the ruins of Qumran. Almost a quarter of them are Biblical scrolls. Every book of the Hebrew Bible, except Esther and counting Ezra-Nehemiah as one book, is among them. But almost all are just tiny fragments. There are exceptions, however. The most extraordinary exception is the Great Isaiah Scroll. As it turns out, it accounts for fully 25 percent of the Biblical corpus of Dead Sea Scrolls.

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