On a fine, spring morning in 1947, a Bedouin boy went into a cave looking for forgotten treasure – and came out with rolls of rotting leather. He had no idea that these Dead Sea Scrolls would provide the world’s greatest insight into life in ancient Israel. The scrolls include the oldest copies of the Old Testament ever found, and show that the Bible we know today is almost identical to the one studied around the time of Jesus Christ. Some of the texts are commentaries that made the Bible relevant to their own days.
These are often scathing attacks on the permissiveness of the ruling elite, or upon a world they believed had forsaken God’s ways. The texts never use the name Essenes, but refer to the Followers of the Teacher of Righteousness, or the Keepers of the New Covenant – also translated as the New Testament. They describe a community preparing for the coming of the Messiah, who believe they are witnessing the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies, who practice ritual bathing, share their wealth and conduct a daily sacred meal presided over by a priest.
Mary scholars see in this the roots of Christianity. Whether written by Essenes or not, at Qumran or not, their words carry a message as clear today as it was 2,000 years ago.
*Until now the spirits of truth and falsehood struggle in the hearts of men, and they walk in both wisdom and folly. According to his portion of truth so does a man hate falsehood, and according to his portion of falsehood so is he wicked and hates truth. For God has established the two spirits in equal measure until
the determined end and until the Renewal.
The Community Rule-from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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