Fun Fact 12
Science and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, here is where it gets interesting, from a technical point of view. The scrolls have been dated by paleography (the study of age-indicative, period-specific writing styles) and Carbon-14 analysis. From this we have learned that the biblical scrolls date from 250-150 BCE; sectarian and non-biblical scrolls date from 100 BCE-70 CE. Scroll fragments have been matched by paleography, scribe-specific writing styles, C-14 dating, and even mitochondrial DNA analysis of the parchment they are written upon. Those scrolls that are blackened beyond readability have had the text teased out by multispectral imaging. DNA analysis has determined that biblical texts were written on bovine parchment, sectarian texts on sheep parchment, and non-biblical texts on sheep or Ibex. Wow, what a worthless piece of information. But no, really it’s not, and here’s why: there is no reason to believe cows were raised at Qumran. There were no cow bones found in the communal dump, and it is the wrong terrain for them. This suggests that the biblical texts were not penned at Qumran, but were imported from other Jewish centers of learning. If the DNA of the scroll parchment can be matched to cow bones at other archeological digs, we may someday learn where these scrolls came from. In the meantime, scientists are using neutron analysis to match the chemical signature of scroll jars with kilns and pottery at other archeological sites. So far they have learned that some of the scroll jars were made at Qumran, but others not – more evidence that some of the scrolls were imported from outside the immediate community.
When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.