Did you know that the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) is one of the greatest archaeological finds in history? Between 1947 and 1956 roughly 900 manuscripts were discovered in caves along the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Among these manuscripts were biblical books, community rules, hymns of thanksgiving called the Hodayot (הוֹדָיוֹת), and even re-written versions of famous scriptural stories! These finds not only drastically transformed our understanding of Second Temple Judaism but also gave scholars insight into the faithful translation, interpretation, and preservation of the Hebrew Bible.

Before the discovery of the Scrolls, the earliest extant (available) biblical manuscripts came from around 900 CE. Thus, the monumental discovery of the DSS took the dating of available biblical manuscripts back some 1000 years! Dated between 250 BCE and 68 CE, the Scrolls contain fragments of every biblical book, except for Esther. The differences between the Dead Sea texts and later Hebrew versions are very slight and often do not affect the meaning of the text. Slight changes in spelling, also called orthography, and minor additions or omissions are some of these small changes between texts. Despite relatively insignificant orthographical variants, the vast similarities we see across centuries of Hebrew manuscripts highlights the great care that Jewish scribes took when transmitting the biblical text.

Only a small percentage of the caves have been excavated, yet new scrolls continue to be unearthed – with the most recent discovery early this year! Thus, more pieces of biblical history lie in wait to be discovered!



  1. Dear Dr. Lyon, thank you for this marvellous article inviting us to think together about probably the most important discovery of the past century! Welcome to our faculty! We are so blessed to have you with us!
  2. Excellent research work you are doing. God bless you for His glory and this world may know. Yahveh the Father in heaven is true living God. As per Old testament prophecies His son Christ Yeshua came, lived holy, died for us and rose again, ascended to heaven and coming soon
  3. Thank you, Ashley. I loved the IBC lecture on the Essenes a lot... extremely valuable insights.
    It just dawned on me, that the DSS have been discovered only when the State of Israel was about to be established as a nation. This doesn't really mean anything in respect to the DSS as such, but then again it's interesting, I find. Anyway... happy 1st May, stay blessed, greetings!
  4. Dear Sir,
    Whilst I haven't yet enrolled on one of your courses, I always find your comments very interesting.
    Just one gripe: please use proper terminology, e.g. A.D. or B.C., and not the 'woke' anti Biblibal secular abbreviations you do use!
    Not a complaint!
    Peter Dunn.

    • + More answers (2)
    • Friends, I would like to explain the use of CE. It used to be that Bible theology was done only "inside" of the Christian community therefore everyone used Latin wording such as A.D. = year of our Lord. However, today we do theology "publicly" with Jewish people present in the discussion very often. So using AD in a publication where a Jew can also be a reader would be offensive and presumptuous. Since Jesus is not the Lord as far as most Jews are concerned. Therefore it has long been a practice in academic discussion like ours (where not only Christians are present) to use generic CE (Common Era) or use it sometimes interchangeably out of respect. I would recommend not to mix current political discussion in the US into this discussion. Our use of CE has NOTHING to do with what many of us are upset about in current development in US politics.

      + More answers (1)
  5. So excited about all these discoveries.
    I am so sorry I cannot join you in any of the wonderful studies but being retired with a very small pension it is just impossible for me.
    I love to see the podcasts and join in your Zooms and webinars.
    Yours Patricia Bento
Load more comments


Please enter your name here
Words left: 50
Please enter your comment!