In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd stumbled upon a cave near the Dead Sea, a settlement now called Qumran, to the east of Jerusalem. This cave, along with the others located nearby, contained jars holding hundreds of scrolls and fragments of scrolls of texts both biblical and nonbiblical—in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The biblical scrolls would be the earliest evidence of the Hebrew Scriptures by hundreds of years; and the nonbiblical texts would shed dramatic light on one of the least-known periods of Jewish history. This find is the most important archaeological event in two thousand years of biblical studies.

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