The Temple Scroll -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 09:1 (Winter 1980)
Article: The Temple Scroll
Author: Anonymous

The Temple Scroll

On a number of occasions we have reported on the progress of the publication of the Temple Scroll, the last known scroll from the caves at Qumran at the Dead Sea (Bible and Spade, Spring 1972, pp. 49-50; Autumn 1973, pp. 120-121; Spring 1977, pp. 49-55, 60–61; Winter 1978, p. 4; Summer-Autumn 1979, pp. 107-108). A Hebrew edition of the publication of this very important scroll is now available, and an English edition is in preparation.

As with many of the great archaeological discoveries in the Middle East, the story of the acquisition of the Temple Scroll by Israeli scholar Yigael Yadin is filled with intrigue and suspense. The story was told by Abraham Rabinovich in our Summer-Autumn 1979 issue, pages 107–108.

Many Bible scholars believe that the temple described by Ezekiel in chapters 40–48 will someday be built on the site of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. The Temple Scroll is therefore of great interest to Christians and Jews alike because it too gives instructions for the construction of a temple in Jerusalem.

For years the Scroll, wrapped in layers of paper, towel, and cellophane, was hidden in a shoebox beneath the floor of an antiquities shop in Bethlehem. The outer layers and ends were

destroyed by the dampness, but otherwise the contents of the Scroll are surprisingly well preserved. It is made of 19 leather sheets 10 inches high and about 18 inches wide. These sheets were sewed together to form a scroll approximately 28 feet long, the longest of the Dead Sea scrolls. There are 67 columns of text, with most columns having 22 lines. A study of the handwriting indicates that columns 1–5 were written by one scribe and columns 6–67 by another. Yadin believes that the entire Scroll was originally written by a single scribe, but that the first six columns became damaged and had to be rewritten by another scribe. The style and language of the Scroll indicates that it was written sometime between 150 and 100 B.C.

The most striking feature of the Scroll is that it is written as if God Himself were speaking. Even when passages from the Old Testament attributed to Moses are quoted, they are changed to the first person so that they become pronouncements of God rather than of Moses. There is no doubt that the Qumran sectarians regarded the entire Scroll as the revealed word of God.

The Scroll is divided into two major parts: columns 1–50 deal with the Temple itself, while columns 51–67 are associated laws that are peculiar and central to the sect. Each of the two sections


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