Dead Sea Scrolls Authors – The scrolls found by the Dead Sea has been debated for decades, but scholars think they are one step closer to discovering who wrote them.
The world’s oldest known biblical documents may have been penned by a sect called the Essenes, according to scholars who studied material discovered in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank.
Scholars previously believed the 2,000-year-old scrolls were written by a Jewish sect from Qumran in the Judean Desert and were hidden in the caves around 70AD, when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.
The research focuses on textiles discovered in Qumran, Israel. But this new research says that all the textiles are made of linen, rather than wool, which was the preferred textile used in ancient Israel.
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of nearly 900 texts, the first batch of which were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. They date from before A.D. 70, and some may go back toas early as the third century B.C.
Orit Shamir, curator of organic materialsat the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Naama Sukenik, a graduate student at Bar-Ilan University, published their research comparing materials in journal Dead Sea Discoveries.
Orit Shamir and Naama Sukenik compared the white-linen textiles found in the caves to other found elsewhere in ancient Israel, and they discovered some parts are being bleached white, even though fabrics from the period often have vivid colours, Live Science reports.
But not everyone agrees with their diagnosis.
Some believe the linen used could have come from people fleeing the Roman army after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and that they are in fact responsible for putting the scrolls into caves.
Shamir and Sukenik were able to focus on the 200 textiles found in the Dead Sea Scroll caves and at Qumran itself, knowing that these are the only surviving textiles related to the scrolls.