MORE ON CARGILL'S DOCUMENTARY:
Dead Sea Scrolls Mystery Solved?
Published July 27, 2010 (National Geographic)
The recent decoding of a cryptic cup, the excavation of ancient Jerusalem tunnels, and other archaeological detective work may help solve one of the great biblical mysteries: Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The new clues hint that the scrolls, which include some of the oldest known biblical documents, may have been the textual treasures of several groups, hidden away during wartime—and may even be "the great treasure from the Jerusalem Temple," which held the Ark of the Covenant, according to the Bible.
The title is overly ambitious but I don't hold Robert responsible for that. The description of the documentary sums up a lot of interesting recent discussion about the Scrolls. As I've mentioned before, my own working hypothesis is that the Dead Sea Scrolls come from multiple libraries held by various congregations in Judea which belonged broadly to the same sectarian movement (probably more or less to be identified with the "Essenes"). The libraries were brought to Qumran for safekeeping in the lead-up to the first Jewish war with Rome in the late 60s CE. Not surprisingly, the collection contains both sectarian texts and other texts that the sectarians found interesting and congenial for one reason or another (e.g., biblical books, Enochic books, etc.). The evidence reviewed here seems to fit well with that scenario. I hope the documentary goes online so I can see it too.
By the way, since when has the Jerusalem cryptic cup been deciphered? This
was the last I've heard about it, in November of 2009. If there's more recent information, I would be grateful if someone would point me to it.
Background to the documentary is here
For more on the archaeology of the site of Qumran and the origins of the Qumran library, see here
, and here
UPDATE (29 July): More here