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Even after more than half a century of research, the "mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls" is actually many mysteries. For example: Who were the people responsible for the deposit of the scrolls in the eleven known caves and how do they relate to known groups in that area of ancient Palestine? What was the purpose of the nearby buildings at "Khirbet Qumran," and is there any connection between the caves and the Khirbeh ("Ruin")? Do the scrolls reflect the views of a single "sectarian" group, or are they more broadly representative?
The materials discovered in 1946 or 1947 near Khirbet Qumran were in an area that is part of the historical world called "the Ancient Near East," and was known as "Palestine" in some ancient sources and under Roman rule. What to call the area today is an academic problem; in the year 2000, the area of Qumran was in the occupied West Bank, administered by Israel, but subsequent negotiations propose to include it for control by the Arabic Palestinian Authority. At the time of the discovery, it was in a larger geographical division called "Palestine," consisting of trust territories administered by Great Britain. At that time, Great Britain proposed to give up the trust territories, and asked very new United Nations to determine what should become of the land. The UN Assembly voted, in November 1947, to partition the land into a Jewish area and an Arab area. As the discoveries were taking place, the fate of the land was being determined. The Dead Sea area lay in the land assigned by the UN to Arab control, though it did not become part of the newly created Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. However, Jordan had, at various times, supervisory control over the area of Qumran and the rest of the West Bank.
.3 Academic Bible Outline
Originally created January 16, 2000 by Sigrid Peterson and subsequently modified extensively by R.Kraft for RelSt 427 (Fall 2004)
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