Category:Qumran Studies--1950s

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The page: Qumran Studies--1950s, includes (in chronological order) fictional and literary works in the field of Qumran Studies made in the 1950s, or from 1950 and 1959.

QuS 1950s -- History of research -- Overview
QuS 1950s -- History of research -- Overview
"Biblical Manuscripts for sale" (The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 1954)
Roland de Vaux, Józef T. Milik, and Gerald Lankester Harding leading the excavations at Qumran
The Palestine Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem
The "Scrollery" Room at the Palestine Archaeological Museum with (left to right) Patrick Skehan, John Strugnell, and John Marco Allegro
The building of the former Ottoman Bank, Jerusalem. In its vault the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Palestine Archaeological Museum were stored during the Suez Canal Crisis, 1956-57

In 1950 Millar Burrows, with the assistance of John C. Trever and William H. Brownlee, published "The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery" (i.e. the complete Isaiah Scroll, the Habakkuk Commentary and the Community Rule from Cave 1), without revealing the exact origin and provenience of the manuscripts. The negotiations for the purchase of the manuscripts were still open and there were concerns about their unclear legal state. The manuscripts continued to be exhibited in the United States in search for a buyer. Eventually, the son of Eleazar Sukenik and Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin was able to purchase the four manuscripts from cave 1, advertised for sale by the Syrian Metropolitan Archbishop in a famous ad on the Wall Street Journal on June 1, 1954. The seven scrolls from Cave 1 were now reunited under the ownership of the new State of Israel.

In the meantime, in November 1951, Roland de Vaux and his team from the ASOR had begun a full excavation of Qumran and the surrounding area. The finding of identical jars in Cave 1 and at the site of Qumran suggested a close archaeological connection. In early 1952 a new cave (Cave 2) with new fragments was discovered by the Bedouin and on March 14 archaeologists first entered Cave 3. It became a race between the Bedouin and the archaeologists. In September-December 1952 Caves 4-5-6 were identified by the ASOR teams. Between 1953 and 1956, Roland de Vaux led four more archaeological expeditions in the area to uncover scrolls and artifacts. The last cave, Cave 11, was discovered in 1956 and yielded the last fragments to be found in the vicinity of Qumran. After 1956, no additional caves or scrolls were found in the area.

The majority of the newly-found fragments became property of the Palestine Archaeological Museum (now commonly known as the Rockefeller Museum) in East Jerusalem and were stored there since 1953. As the Museum became the center for the study of the manuscripts, Roland de Vaux and Harding began to assembly an international team of specialists. Józef T. Milik and Frank Cross were to first scholars to join the team in 1953. They were followed in 1954 by Patrick Skehan, John Strugnell, Dominique Barthelemy, Jean Starcky, Clause-Hunno Hunzinger, and John Marco Allegro.

The team worked in very difficult conditions; with virtually no technological support, they could count only on their linguistic skill to solve the gigantic puzzle made of thousands of unidentified fragments. Under these circumstances it is amazing what they were able to accomplish. The scrolls however suffered deterioration and damage from transportation and handling. The poor storage conditions at the "Scrollery" of the Museum (and ever worse, in the Ottoman Bank vault, where they were temporarily located from 1956 to the Spring of 1957 during the Suez Canal Crisis) made many of the fragments deteriorate to the point of becoming illegible. Fortunately, the Museum had all the material photographed by local Arab photographer Najib Albina.

While the team of scholars and archaeologists worked in Palestine, the excitement for the discovery grew internationally far beyond the scholarly community. On May 25-27, 1955 the first international conference of Qumran Studies was held in Strasbourg, France. The first collections of Dead Sea Scrolls translated into modern languages appeared in the 1950s. To the popularity of the scrolls and the creation of the "myth" of Qumran greatly contributed in 1955 the work of the American journalist Edmund Wilson. His book, translated into several languages, proved the appeal of the discovery also among non-specialists.

In 1956 the decision was taken to open the Copper Scroll (found in 1952), by cutting it in small segments. The complex operation was carried out by Prof. James Baker at the University of Manchester. Shortly afterwards, the government of Jordan gave John Marco Allegro permission to search for the treasures described in the text, but with no results.

In 1957-58, Józef T. Milik and Frank Cross offered the first general assessments of ten years of research on the scrolls. The Essene connection was firmly established and the scholarly interest focused on the theological features of the Qumran community and the implications on Christian Origins.

In 1958 Jean Carmignac founded the Revue de Qumran, the first journal to specialize in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

QuS Timeline -> 1950s

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QuS 1950s -- Highlights
QuS 1950s -- Highlights


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Cognate Fields (1950s)
Cognate Fields (1950s)



Pages in category "Qumran Studies--1950s"

The following 118 pages are in this category, out of 118 total.

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