The Dead Sea Scrolls
In 1947 , an Arab boy found some earthenware jars in a cave in the lonely desert on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Inside the jars , wrapped in linen , he found pieces of leather with writing on them, known as scrolls.
Later scholars, researchers and archeologists found still more of these with thousands of fragments in caves nearby. The writing was in Hebrew and Aramic languages, used by the ancient Jews. The scrolls were copies of books of the Old Testament and other writing belonging to a group of Jews known as the "Essenes".
In the period before Christ was born , Palestine was upset by many invasions and some Jews must have fled and retired to settlements in caves . They ,however, were not spared by the Roman conquerers who destroyed this settlement in A.D.68.
Miraculously, because of the dry desert air the scrolls were preserved and in 1966 they were moved to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Until the scrolls were found , there was no way of knowing whether the Bible was really like the first writings from which they came ; since mistakes were quite possible as they were copied by hand.
Amazingly, the scrolls , some of which are older than the copies of the Old Testament show how carefully the old stories were handed down . They also give a clear picture of a period not mentioned in the Bible - the 400years between the Old Testament and the New .