LOST BUT FOUND (I)
– Scrolls in Transit Thanks to a Goat
Housed in the Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Israeli Museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest fragments of the Hebrew Bible to have been found.
Qumran, (the Judean Desert,) 1947: the first of the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The tapestries depict the scrolls’ life in a cave and its settings, and their journey from the cave in which they were stumbled upon by a young, Bedouin shepherd looking for a missing goat, to Jerusalem, where they were carefully stored.
As the scrolls throw light on the Jewish society during the Second Temple period, as well as the origins of Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity, it is awe-inspiring to think that the historic illumination was hidden from us for about two thousand years. The scrolls were just standing there year after year in desert-silence and urn-darkness, sheltered from the brutal sunlight.
I like the jars’ unusually thin and tall shapes which indicate that they were made especially for the purpose of storing the scrolls. Fortunately, ceramic lids, unusual as big jar covers at the time, were made for their survival and inspired the lid-like shape of the modern building the scrolls now call home.
Lost but Found (I)