Israel: rare ancient scroll found in Cave of Horror as archeologists race against plunderers
“In a stunningly rare discovery, dozens of 2,000-year-old biblical scroll fragments have been excavated from Judean Desert caves during a daring rescue operation” writes the Times of Israel as Israeli archaeologists unveiled dozens of new Dead Sea scroll fragments bearing a biblical text found in a desert cave.
The fragments of parchment bear lines of Greek text from the books of Zechariah and Nahum, believed hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome nearly 1,900 years ago, have been dated around the 1st century AD based on the writing style, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The first new scrolls found in archeological excavations in the desert south of Jerusalem in 60 years, these roughly 80 new pieces are believed to belong to a set of parchment fragments found in a site known as the Cave of Horror — named for the 40 human skeletons found there during excavations in the 1960s — that also bear a Greek rendition of the Twelve Minor Prophets, a book in the Hebrew Bible per CBC.
The Israel Antiquities Authority held a news conference Tuesday to unveil the discovery of these rare artifacts in a race against plunderers.
“We found a textual difference that has no parallel with any other manuscript, either in Hebrew or in Greek,” said Oren Ableman, a Dead Sea scroll researcher with the Israel Antiquities Authority. “When we think about the biblical text, we think about something very static. It wasn't static. There are slight differences and some of those differences are important,” said Joe Uziel, head of the antiquities authority's Dead Sea scrolls unit.
The parchment had been written in Greek, the language adopted after the conquest of Judea by Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC. The name of God, though, exclusively appears in Hebrew reports BBC.