Only Caves 1 and 11 have produced relatively intact manuscripts. Discovered in 1952, Cave 4 produced the largest find. About 15,000 fragments from more than 500 manuscripts were found. In all, scholars have identified the remains of about 825 to 870 separate scrolls.
The Scrolls can be divided into two categories—biblical and non-biblical. Fragments of every book of the Hebrew canon (Old Testament) have been discovered except for the book of Esther. There are now identified among the scrolls, 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms .
Prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel not found in the Bible are written in the Scrolls. The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. In fact, the scrolls are the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found.
In the Scrolls are found never before seen psalms attributed to King David and Joshua. The Scrolls are for the most part, written in Hebrew, but there are many written in Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and of the first two centuries A.D.
Near the caves are the ancient ruins of Qumran. They were excavated in the early 1950's and appear to be connected with the scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls were most likely written by the Essenes during the period from about 200 B.C. to 68 C.E./A.D. The Essenes are mentioned by Josephus and in a few other sources, but not in the New testament. The Essenes were a strict Torah observant, Messianic, apocalyptic, baptist, wilderness, new covenant Jewish sect.
The enemies of the Qumran community were called the "Sons of Darkness"; they called themselves the "Sons of Light," "the poor," and members of "the Way." They thought of themselves as "the holy ones," who lived in "the house of holiness," because "the Holy Spirit" dwelt with them.
Although the Qumran community existed during the time of the ministry of Jesus, none of the Scrolls refer to Him, nor do they mention any of his follower's described in the New Testament.
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