Tuesday, March 16, 2021

New Dead Sea Scroll fragments found in the Cave of Horror!

THE ONE WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Today was the first weekday in forever that I had to be away from my desk in the morning and didn't blog. So this morning the IAA announces that it discovered new Dead Sea Scrolls. It figures.

Bible scroll fragments among dazzling artifacts found in Dead Sea Cave of Horror. (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).

In a stunningly rare discovery, some two dozen 2,000-year-old biblical scroll fragments have been excavated from Judean Desert caves during a daring rescue operation. The newly discovered scroll fragments — the first such finds in 60 years — are Greek translations of the books of Zechariah and Nahum from the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and are written in two scribal hands. Only the name of God is written in Hebrew in the texts.

The 20-odd fragments were found in the so-called Cave of Horror in Nahal Hever, which is some 80 meters (260 feet) below a cliff top. According to an Israel Antiquities Authority press release, the cave is so-named because it is “flanked by gorges and can only be reached by rappelling precariously down the sheer cliff.”

Operation Scroll (see here and links) has had some near misses, such as Qumran "Cave 12" and Cave 52, but this is the real thing.

The famous fragmentary Greek Minor Prophets Scroll was found in (mostly looted from) the Cave of Horror in the 1950s and 1960s. According to the Daily Mail's coverage, these new fragments are likely missing bits of that scroll:

The new pieces are believed to belong to a larger set of parchment fragments that include a Greek rendition of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

It is thought the newly found fragments are the missing parts of those scrolls, which were first found in 1952. They include Micah's prophecy about the End of Days.

My memory, with which the Wikipedia article concurs, is that the Cave of Horror got its name because so many human skeletons were found in it. (I can't believe that I have never before posted on the Greek Minor Prophets Scroll or on the Cave of Horror.)

The new discoveries in the cave include a huge 10,500-year-old basket and a 6000-year-old child burial.

Bit by bit, a letter at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done. Meanwhile, more please!

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