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.

Conversion Story Part 2: Being True to a Promise

By Dr. Laurence B. Brown

In the winter of 1990, when my second daughter was born, she was whisked from the birthing room to the neonatal intensive care unit, where she was diagnosed with a coarctation of the aorta.  This meaning a critical narrowing in the major vessel from the heart, she was a dusky gunmetal blue from the chest to the toes, for her body simply was not getting enough blood and her tissues were suffocating.  When I learned of the diagnosis, I was shattered.  Being a doctor, I understood this meant emergency thoracic surgery with a poor chance of long-term survival.  A consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon was called from across town at the pediatric hospital in Washington, D.C., and upon his arrival I was asked to leave the intensive care unit, for I had become overly emotional.  With no companion but my fears, and no other place of comfort to which to go while awaiting the result of the consultant’s examination, I went to the prayer room in the hospital and fell to my knees.  For the first time in my life I prayed with sincerity and commitment.  Having spent my life as an atheist, this was the first time that I even partially recognized God.  I say partially, for even in this time of panic I was not fully believing, and so prayed a rather skeptical prayer in which I promised God, if, that is, there was a God, that if He would save my daughter then I would seek and follow the religion most pleasing to Him.  Ten to fifteen minutes later, when I returned to the Neonatal ICU, I was shocked when the consultant told me that my daughter would be fine.  And, true to his assessment, within the next two days her condition resolved without medicine or surgery, and she subsequently grew up a completely normal child.

Now, I know that there is a medical explanation for this.  As I said, I am a doctor.  So when the consultant explained about a patent ductus arteriosis, low oxygenation and eventual spontaneous resolution, I understood.  I just didn’t buy it.  More significantly, neither did the Intensivist – the Neonatal ICU specialist who made the diagnosis.  To this day I remember seeing him standing, blank-faced and speechless.  But in the end, the consultant was right and the condition spontaneously reversed and my daughter, Hannah, left the hospital a normal baby in every respect.  And here’s the rub -- many who make promises to God in moments of panic find or invent excuses to escape their part of the bargain once the danger is past.  As an atheist, it would have been easy to maintain my disbelief in God, assigning my daughter’s recovery to the doctor’s explanation rather than to God.  But I couldn’t.  We had cardiac ultrasound taken before and after, showing the stricture one day, gone the next, and all I could think of was that God had made good on His part of the deal, and I had to make good on mine.  And even if there were an adequate medical explanation, that too was under the control of Almighty God, so by whatever means God chose to effect His decree, He had answered my prayer.  Period.  I did not then, and I do not now, accept any other explanation.

The next few years I tried to fulfill my side of the bargain, but failed.  I studied Judaism and a number of sects of Christianity, but never felt that I had found the truth.  Over time I attended a wide variety of Christian churches, spending the longest period of time in Roman Catholic congregation.  However, I never embraced Christian faith.  I never could, for the simple reason that I could not reconcile the biblical teachings of Jesus with the teachings of the various sects of Christianity.  Eventually I just stayed home and read, and during this time I was introduced to the Holy Quran and Martin Lings’ biography of the prophet, Muhammad, entitled, Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

During my years of study, I had encountered the Jewish scriptures referencing three prophets to follow Moses.  With John the Baptist and Jesus Christ being two, that left one according to the Old Testament, and in the New Testament Jesus Christ himself spoke of a final prophet to follow.  Not until I found the Holy Quran teaching the oneness of God, as both Moses and Jesus Christ had taught, did I begin to consider Muhammad as the predicted final prophet, and not until I read the biography of Muhammad did I become convinced.  And when I did become convinced, suddenly everything made sense.  The continuity in the chain of prophethood and revelation, the One-ness of Almighty God, and the completion of revelation in the Holy Quran suddenly made perfect sense, and it was then that I became Muslim.

Pretty smart, hunh?  No, not at all.  For I would err greatly if I believed that I figured it out for myself.  One lesson I have learned over the past ten years as a Muslim is that there are a lot of people much more intelligent than I am, but who have not been able to figure out the truth of Islam.  It is not a matter of intelligence but of enlightenment, for Allah has revealed that those who disbelieve will remain upon disbelief, even if warned, for in punishment for having denied Allah, Allah in turn has denied them the treasure of His truth.  As Allah teaches in the Holy Quran:

“Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.  God has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil.” (Quran 2:6-7)

But, on the other hand, the good news is that…

“…whoever believes in God – He will guide his heart” (Quran 64:11)

“…God chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him].” (Quran 42:13)


“…And God guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Quran 24:46)

So I thank God that He chose to guide me, and I attribute that guidance to one simple formula: recognizing God, praying to God Alone, sincerely promising to seek and follow His religion of truth, and then, once receiving His mercy of guidance, DOING IT .

Conversion Story: The Nature of Conversion Stories and the Common Ground Between Them, No Matter What Religion.

By Laurence B. Brown, MD

Having repeatedly been asked about how I became Muslim, and why, I have decided to tell the story one last time, but this time on paper.  However, I feel conversion stories are worthless unless related with the lessons learned, and it is with those lessons that I intend to begin.

No doubt, there is a certain fascination with conversion stories, and for good reason.  Frequently they involve dramatic life-altering events, sufficient to shock the convert out of the materialistic world and into the spiritual.  Those who experience such life dramas are brought face to face with the bigger issues of life for the first time, forcing them to ask the ‘Purpose of Life’ questions, such as ‘Who made us?’  and ‘Why are we here?’  But there are other common elements to ‘conversion’ stories, and one of them is that the convert is humbled to his or her knees at such moments, and looking back, most relate having prayed with sincerity for the first time in their lives.  I have been intrigued by these commonalties, and have noted some significant lessons.  The first, I would say, is that most converts who passed through these moments of trial and panic prayed directly to God, without intermediary, and without distraction.  For example, even those who spent their lives believing in the Trinity, when faced with catastrophe, instinctively and reflexively prayed directly to God, and never to the other proposed elements of the Trinity.

Let me relate a story as example.  A popular television evangelist once had a lady relate her ‘Born Again’ Christian conversion story, which revolved around a terrible boat-wreck, from which she was the sole survivor.  This lady related how during her days and nights of survival against the harsh elements of the open ocean God spoke to her, God guided her, God protected her, etc.  You get the idea.  For maybe five to ten minutes she told her tale, which was indeed dramatic and captivating, but throughout the story she related how God did this, God did that, and seeking His favor, she prayed to God and to God Alone.  However, when she was saved by a passing ship, she described how the minute she landed on the ship’s deck she threw her arms open to the heavens and yelled, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Well, there is a lesson there, and it relates to sincerity.  When in the panic and stress of circumstance, people instinctively pray to God directly, but when conceiving themselves safe and secure they frequently fall back into previously held beliefs, many (if not most) of which are misdirected.  Now, we all know that many Christians equate Jesus with God, and for those who would like to argue the point, I just suggest they read my book on the subject, entitled The First and Final Commandment (Amana Publications).  For all others, I would just continue by saying that the real question is ‘Who truly is saved?’  There are countless convert stories, all telling how the God of this or that religion saved the person in question, and all of these converts conceive themselves to be upon the truth by nature of the miracle of their salvation.  But as there is only One God, and therefore only one religion of absolute truth, the fact of the matter is that only one group can be right and all others are living in delusion, with their personal miracles having confirmed them upon disbelief rather than upon truth.  As God teaches in the Holy Quran:

“…God leaves astray whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]” (Quran 13:27)


“So those who believe in God and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path.” (Quran 4:175)

As for those astray in disbelief, they will be left to stray, as they themselves chose.

But the strength of belief, even when misdirected, is not to be underestimated.  So who is going to become Muslim based upon my conversion story?  Only one person -- me.  Muslims may find some encouragement in my story but others may be left empty, just as Muslims sigh and shake their heads in despair when hearing others relate the ‘miracles’ which followed prayers to patron saints, partners in the Trinity, or other distractions from the One True God.  For if a person prays to something or someone other than our Creator, who, if not God, might be the one answering those prayers?  Could it just possibly be a certain one who has a vested interest in confirming those who are astray upon their particular flavor of disbelief?  One whose dedicated purpose is to lead mankind astray?

However a person chooses to answer those questions, these are issues addressed at length in The First and Final Commandment , and those interested can investigate.  But for now, I will tell my story.

      Next: Laurence Brown, Medical Doctor, USA (part 2 of 2): Being True to a Promise

Psalms Scroll - Song of Ascent

The book of Psalms contains fifteen Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). 

Pilgrims would recite these Psalms while making their way “up” to Jerusalem for the three annual festivals. Scholars also maintain that they were sung by the temple priests while ascending the steps leading up to the temple. 

 In 1956, Bedouin discovered Cave 11 at the Qumran site Six different Psalms’ manuscripts emerged from the dusty cave next to the Dead Sea, revealing a plethora of insights into the way in which the sectarian group formed liturgies of both canonical and non-canonical Psalms. 

The four leaves reproduced here contain portions of eleven of the fifteen Songs of Ascent.

On "Jesus Freaks"

A fan recently sent me the following suggestions, regarding my article entitled “Jesus Freaks:” 

•    We eat halal meat, which is equivalent to kosher in the sense that it is slaughtered in accordance with God’s laws.

Muslims say "Insha-Allah" as per James 4:15 - Christians don't say “God-willing” nearly as frequently as Muslims

•    Moses removed his shoes on Mount Sinai, because it was holy ground. Muslims remove their shoes before prayer. 

•    There was a direction for prayer in the Old Testament (Jerusalem). Muslims also have a direction for prayer (Makkah).

•    There was a call for prayer in the Old Testament. Muslims have the Adhaan.

The posture for supplication (du'a) in Muslim prayer is IDENTICAL to this verse:

"...when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven."-(1 KINGS 8:54).

See posture here and compare with 1 Kings 8:54

Of all of the above suggestions, I like the last the most. Regarding removing the shoes, I don’t agree with this point, because Muslims are actually bidden to NOT remove their shoes before prayer, to distinguish themselves from the Jews. But I love this kind of feedback, and I encourage all constructive criticism. Many thanks to this devoted reader!!!

Jesus Freaks by Laurecne B. Brown

When I was a child, growing up in the sixties and seventies just a few blocks away from the notorious Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, I was surrounded by the hippie movement.  It was a “turn on, tune in, drop out” age of sexual freedom, cultural revolution and social recklessness.

Happily, I was never caught up in the hippie movement, but being so close to it, I could not help but observe its development.  One thing I clearly remember is how many hippies were labeled “Jesus freaks.”  As I surf my childhood memories, nearly four decades later, this euphemism strikes me as having been decidedly peculiar.  These hippies were considered “Jesus freaks” because they dressed as Jesus did, grew their hair as he did, renounced materialism as he did, and propagated devotion to God, peace, charity and communal love.

Now, many whom embarked upon this path fell into hallucinogenic drug use and wanton sexual proclivities—practices which are far from the example of Jesus—but this is not why these hippies were called Jesus freaks.  Rather, they were called Jesus freaks for their long hair, loose clothing, asceticism, communal unity and passivism, all a result of their effort to live like Jesus.  The House of Love and Prayer, located nearby in the avenues, was a collecting point for many of these well-meaning souls, and the title of the institution reflected their focus in life.

Looking back, what seems strange to me now is not that people would wish to embody Jesus’ values, but that others would criticize them for it.  What seems even stranger is that few Christians, in the modern day, match this profile.  Indeed, what seemed most strange to me, prior to my conversion to Islam, is that Muslims seemed to embody Jesus’ values better than Christians.

Now, that assertion requires an explanation, and it goes like this: To begin with, both Christianity and Islam consider Jesus to have been a prophet of their religion.  However, whereas Jesus’ teachings have been lost from the creed and practices of most Christians (see my article, Where is the “Christ” in “Christianity?”), these same teachings are respected and evident in Islam.

Let us look at some examples.


1.      Jesus was bearded, as are most Muslims, but only the rare Christian.

2.      Jesus dressed modestly.  If we close our eyes and form a mental picture, we see flowing robes, from wrists to ankles—much like the loose Arabian thobes and the Indio-Pakistani shalwar kameez, typical of the Muslims of those areas.  What we don’t imagine is the revealing or seductive clothing so ubiquitous in Christian cultures.

3.      Jesus’ mother covered her hair, and this practice was maintained among the Christian women of the Holy Land up to the middle of the twentieth century.  Again, this is a practice maintained among Muslims as well as Orthodox Jews (of which Jesus was one), but not among modern day Christians.


1.      Jesus focused upon salvation and eschewed finery.  How many “righteous” Christians fit this “It’s not just on Sundays” profile?  Now how many “five prayers a day, every day of the year” Muslims?

2.      Jesus spoke with humility and kindness.  He didn’t “showboat.”  When we think of his speeches, we don’t imagine theatrics.  He was a simple man known for quality and truth.  How many preachers and how many evangelists follow this example?

3.      Jesus taught his disciples to offer the greeting of “Peace” (Luke 10:5), and then set the example: “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26).  Who continues this practice to this day, Christians or Muslims?  “Peace be with you” is the meaning of the Muslim greeting, “Assalam alaikum.”  Interestingly enough, we find this greeting in Judaism as well (Genesis 43:23, Numbers 6:26, Judges 6:23, I Samuel 1:17 and I Samuel 25:6).

Religious Practices

1.      Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2:21).  Paul taught it wasn’t necessary (Rom 4:11 and Gal 5:2).  Muslims believe it is.

2.      Jesus didn’t eat pork, in keeping with Old Testament law (Leviticus 11:7 and Deuteronomy 14:8).  Muslims also believe pork is forbidden.  Christians … well, you get the idea.

3.      Jesus didn’t give or take usury, in compliance with the Old Testament prohibition (Exodus 22:25).  Usury is forbidden in the Old Testament and the Quran, as it was forbidden in the religion of Jesus.  The economies of most Christian countries, however, are structured upon usury.

4.      Jesus didn’t fornicate, and abstained from extramarital contact with women.  Now, this issue extends to the least physical contact with the opposite sex.  With the exception of performing religious rituals and helping those in need, Jesus never even touched a woman other than his mother.  Strictly practicing Orthodox Jews maintain this practice to this day in observance of Old Testament law.  Likewise, practicing Muslims don’t even shake hands between the sexes.  Can Christian “hug your neighbor” and “kiss the bride” congregations make the same claim?

Practices of Worship

1.      Jesus purified himself with washing prior to prayer, as was the practice of the pious prophets who preceded him (see Exodus 40:31-32 in reference to Moses and Aaron), and as is the practice of Muslims.

2.      Jesus prayed in prostration (Matthew 26:39), like the other prophets (see Nehemiah 8:6 with regard to Ezra and the people, Joshua 5:14 for Joshua, Genesis 17:3 and 24:52 for Abraham, Exodus 34:8 and Numbers 20:6 for Moses and Aaron).  Who prays like that, Christians or Muslims?

3.      Jesus fasted for more than a month at a time (Matthew 4:2 and Luke 4:2), as did the pious before him (Exodus 34:28, I Kings 19:8), and as do Muslims in the annual fast of the month of Ramadan.

4.      Jesus made pilgrimage for the purpose of worship, as all Orthodox Jews aspire to do.  The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is well known, and is alluded to in the Bible (see The First and Final Commandment).

Matters of Creed

1.      Jesus taught the oneness of God (Mark 12:29-30, Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27), as conveyed in the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).  Nowhere did he declare the Trinity.

2.      Jesus declared himself a man and a prophet of God (see above), and nowhere claimed divinity or divine sonship.  Which creed are the above points more consistent with—the Trinitarian formula or the absolute monotheism of Islam?

In short, Muslims appear to be the “Jesus freaks” of modern day, if by that expression we mean those who live by God’s laws and Jesus’ example.

Carmichael notes, “… for a whole generation after Jesus’ death his followers were pious Jews and proud of it, had attracted into their fold members of the professional religious classes, and did not deviate even from the burdensome ceremonial laws.”[1]

One wonders what happened between the practices of the first generation of Jesus’ followers and the Christians of modern day.  At the same time, we have to respect the fact that Muslims exemplify Jesus’ teachings more than Christians do.  Furthermore, we should remember that the Old Testament foretold three prophets to follow.  John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were numbers one and two, and Jesus Christ himself predicted the third and last.  Hence, both Old and New Testaments speak of a final prophet, and we would be amiss if we didn’t consider that final prophet to be Muhammad, and the final revelation to be that of Islam.

Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown.

[1] Carmichael, Joel. p. 223.


Out of my lean and low ability I’ll lend you something – Shakespeare

            -----Now that’s humility!

Papyrus 7Q5 from the Dead Sea

Papyrus 7Q5 was found in cave seven at Qumran and was translated by scholar Jose o"Callaghan as being the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark. He is supported in his view by some scholars including Carsten Peter Thiede but is contested by other scholars.

War Rule fragment

This six line fragment that is part of what is called the War Rule scroll has been named by some as the "Pierced Messiah Scroll fragment". The text is a Herodian script of the first half of the first century AD and refers to a Messiah from the branch of David, to a judgement, and to a killing.

The text of line four reads:"and the Prince of the Congregation, the Branch of David, will kill him." An alternate reading reads "and they killed the Prince". It is because of this second reading that it was dubbed the "Pierced Messiah". Perhaps alluding to Isaiah 11:4.

Pottery Artifacts: Sundial from Qumran

A sundial found at Qumran thought to have been used to determine the cosmic calendar for the celebration of the Jewish feasts.

Great Isaiah Scroll

The Isaiah Scroll was written on parchment with each section hand-sewn with animal sinew threads. The outside of the scroll shows darkened areas from the many ancient hands that held the scroll open 2000 years ago.

The Isaiah Scroll shows evidence of three scribes having written the text with the second and third making corrections to the writings of the first scribe.

Full size reproduction Historic Connections

A fascinating and fun read for those who love religious thrillers

By Midwest Book Review

Truth is something that is battled for everyday. "The Eighth Scroll" tells the story of archeologist Frank Tones and his pursuit of the lost scroll of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls. But when bodies begin to turn up and people are silenced, the good of history seems to be no match for corruption and lust for power. "The Eighth Scroll" is a fascinating and fun read for those who love religious thrillers.

Nash Papyrus

The oldest Fragmentary text we had prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the Nash Papyrus.

The Nash Papyrus is a segmented papyrus manuscript found in Egypt in 1898 by W.L.Nash. It is thought it came from the Fayyum though its provenance is not entirely known. It is dated to 150 - 100BC and was the oldest Hebrew manuscript at the time until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It contains the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael. At one point it was customary to say the Ten Commandments before the Shema Yisrael and thus it is thought that this fragment was made for this purpose

Aleppo Codex

The Dead Sea Scrolls are key to understanding and confirming the accuracy of the transmission of the Biblical text over 2000 years. There is no part of the Dead Sea Scrolls that challenge the text or beliefs of our present core Christian beliefs. There are spelling variances and wording differences but the core of the text has been accurately carried through time to the present day.

"We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own scriptures. For although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable; and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as the decrees of God, to abide by them, and if need be, to cheerfully die for them."
-Falvius Josephus (Contra Apion, Book 1, sec.,8,p158)

Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the oldest complete manuscripts were those of the Masoretic text. The Dead Sea Scrolls are 1000 years older giving us a window into the original text a millenia closer to the original autographs.

The Aleppo Codex is one of these Masoretic Texts:

 Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex is the oldest and most complete  manuscript of the Hebrew Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are 1000 years older but are in a much fragmentary state but show us just how faithfully the text has been copied over time.

If you wish to know more about the Aleppo Codex see HERE 

Dead Sea Scrolls Historical Connections

One of the first scrolls found was so stuck together that scholars dispaired of unrolling it.
At Hebrew University Professor James E. Bieberkraut soften it by exposing it for months to controlled humidity, slowly peeled it open.  It was a part of Genesis, written in Aramaic, and the earliest document ever found in this ancient language.


 Professor Bieberkraut of the Hebrew University opening the Genesis Apocryphon. 

Many of the scrolls were tightly rolled and encrusted in 2000 years of soil, dirt and animal droppings buried in the soil on the floors of the caves. Professor Bieberkraut who worked at the Hebrew University at the time employed his expertise in opening the precious scrolls.

Qumran Settlement - Recreation


A recreation of the Settlement at Qumran.
The Scriptorium at Qumran where inkwells, reed pen (made from a palm) and a long plastered table were found.

Reader's Review: Good Historical Fiction

I thought that this was a really good book. It weaves together three religious views: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This is a work of fiction so please don't try to make what happens in the story applicable to you real religion. I have an open mind, but I also can separate fiction from what I consider to be fact.

I enjoyed the characters. They were developed and believable, and got me to care about what happened to them. The facts in the book are historically accurate, for the most part. There were so moments in the book where it went "Oh really." But there were not enough of them to lesson my enjoyment.

As a religious mystery based in part on the Bible and an alternative view of the religions it has spawned, this is a good book. I enjoyed it and I am sure you will too.

Dead Sea Scrolls Historical Connection

Metropolitan Athanasius Yeshue Samuel (1909-1995), was a Metropolitan and Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, as well as a central figure in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Mar Samuel holding some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
 In 1947, while Metropolitan of Jerusalem of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (also known as the Syrian Orthodox Church), Mar Samuel received news that some ancient texts had been discovered. Samuel arranged to see the scrolls. After examining them, and suspecting that they were indeed very old, Mar Samuel expressed an interest in purchasing them. All four scrolls that had been then discovered would find their way into his possession, including the now famous Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule, the Habakkuk Persher, and the Genesis Apocryphon. The scrolls were sold to Mar Samuel by Kando, an antiquities dealer.

Following the end of the British mandate over Palestine and Transjordan and the outbreak of hostilities between Arabs and Jews, Mar Samuel relocated to the United States in 1949, and played a major role in the life of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America. From 1952, he served as Patriarchal Vicar to the United States and Canada, and from 1957, as Archbishop of the newly created Archdiocese of the United States and Canada.


Reader's Review: My 1st Kindle book and it's a keeper!

By Lisa Kingsbeer 

Fast paced with memorable and like able characters. The Eighth Scroll has an intriguing storyline that had me researching online and learning much more about history than I bargained for. Yes the comparisons with The Da Vinci Code are evident but having read both I would say the Eighth Scroll is well worth a read if you are a Da Vinci Code fan OR not. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more Lawrence Brown books and wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Dead Sea Scrolls Historical Connections

Father Roland de Vaux holding fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Father Roland GuĂ©rin de Vaux  (17 December 1903 – 10 September 1971) was a French Dominican priest who led the team that initially worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the director of the Ecole Biblique, a French Catholic Theological School in East Jerusalem, and he was charged with overseeing research on the scrolls. His team excavated the ancient site of Qumran (1951–1956) as well as several caves near Qumran northwest of the Dead Sea. The excavations were led by Ibrahim El-Assouli, caretaker of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, or what came to be known as the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem. 


Reader's Review: Good read! Would definitely recommend!

By Jessica 

I really enjoyed this book. It was well-written, with an interesting story line. If you enjoy historical fiction, and are willing to keep an open mind about beliefs that may clash with what you believe, it's definitely worth your time to read.

Habakkuk Scroll

The Commentary on Habakkuk (Pesher Habakkuk, 1QpHab), is a relative complete scroll (1.48 m long) and one of the seven original Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in caves of Qumran in 1947. It interprets the first two chapters of the biblical book of the prophet Habakkuk and comprises 13 columns written in Hebrew, in a clear, square Herodian script. However, the tetragrammaton, the four-letter, ineffable name of God, is written in ancient Hebrew characters, unlike the rest of the text. The scroll has been dated to the second half of the first century BCE.

In this work, the verses of the biblical book are copied paragraph by paragraph, in their original order. The scriptural text of Habakkuk on which the commentary is based, however, appears to be at variance from time to time with the Masoretic text. Each paragraph is accompanied by a commentary, introduced by the Hebrew word pishro, "its meaning," or pesher hadavar al, "the meaning of the matter is in regard to." The commentary uses a prophetic style to address events of the author's time.

Two major subjects are treated in this composition. One relates to the internal religious politics of Jerusalem and the Temple priesthood, and the other – to the repercussions of the appearance of the Romans (called in the work Chaldeans or Kittim) on the historical scene. As in most of works of this genre, no historical personages are mentioned by name, but there are allusions to such individuals as "the Teacher of Righteousness," "the Wicked Priest," "the Man of Lies," and others, whose exact identities have yet to be established.

This exceptionally well-preserved scroll is a key source of our knowledge of the spiritual life of the secluded Qumran community. It sheds light on the community's perception of itself and serves as paradigm against which other examples of this genre (such as Pesher Nahum or Pesher Micah) are evaluated

Click Here To Examine The Scroll

Reader's Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Story. Excellent Book!

J Bryden Lloyd

Writing Style - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
In what has to be one of the better works I have read in recent months, the writing here I engaging and impressive. Dr Brown writes a considered and eloquent descriptive and realistic dialogue throughout, which pulls the action along beautifully.

Character Development - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
One of the really outstanding features of this work, is the authors skill in endearing the reader to a group of characters, even the bad guys are given certain relatable qualities, despite the fact you know you need to dislike them.
Each character is definitive and unique and the story winds around each one with an intricate quality.

Descriptive - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
Like the characters, the scenes, locations and feelings are conveyed expertly. Even sounds, tastes and smells are described in exceptional detail. The ancient scenes at the start of the book really do lay down the background to the key elements of the plot, and the hops through to the present are well plotted and carefully develop all the remaining characters and sub-plots.

Language & Grammar - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
From the opening line, the level of language, editing and grammar is thoroughly professional and brilliantly executed. Any aspiring writers out there should consider this as a first-class example of how to get the finished article right.

Plot - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding) - NO SPOILERS
This is a strong storyline and with the interwoven sub-plots working hard to keep the reader on their toes, I can't recommend this book enough. The interaction between the characters makes the story run smoothly and, where necessary, violently through its motions. The back-plot of `the scroll' and its location inexorably links every character and as conclusions are drawn, the reader is taken on an awesome roller-coaster ride.

General - 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
I guess you can see where this is going by now... This was an excellent book, one I thoroughly enjoyed and will undoubtedly read again. I picked this up last September, and it only got to the top of my reading pile a few days ago.
Needless to say, the content pulled me along to the point where I read into three consecutive nights in my search for the conclusion, and I was not disappointed.

FIVE stars. A quite exceptional book! Very, very highly recommended.

Dr. Adolfo D. Roitman on The Great Isaiah Scroll

The Great Isaiah Scroll  is one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. It is the largest and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the biblical Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known to us before the scrolls' discovery.

Reader's Review: Priceless Book

This book is indeed priceless! A real must-read! A captivating book!

I really thought I was watching a movie when I was done. It's the special strong wording of Dr. Brown that captivates the reader as if you are watching a thriller movie not just reading a book. I have rarely ever finished reading a book in just two days!!! I want to read it again, God willing! But for now I will first finish reading "The Returned". I have started ordering The Eight Scroll book as a gift to my faithful friends of different religion adherents.

Dr. Adolfo D. Roitman on he Community Scroll

The Community Rule (Serekh Hayahad, 1QS), formerly called the "Manual of Discipline," is the major section of one of the first seven scrolls discovered in Cave 1 at Qumran in 1947. Written in Hebrew in a square Hasmonean script, it was copied between 100 and 75 BCE.

In addition to this manuscript, fragments of no less than ten additional copies of the work were found in Cave 4 (4Q255-264), and two tiny fragments of another copy came to light in Cave 5 (5Q11). The copy from Cave 1 is the best preserved and contains the longest version of the text known to us. On the basis of comparison with the fragments from Cave 4, however, scholars have concluded that the manuscript from Cave 1 represents a late stage in the evolution of the composition.

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Dead Sea Scrolls: Community Rule Scroll

  Credit: The Israel Museum, Jerusalum  The Community Rule Scroll is a sort of manual for life, from governing who joins the community to laying down rules about how to behave at communal meals.  The Community Rule which was previously referred to as the Manual of Discipline and in Hebrew Serekh ha-Yahad is one of the first scrolls to be discovered near khirbet (ruin of) Qumran, the scrolls found in the eleven caves between 1947 and 1954 are now referred to simply as the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

Newly Discovered Qumran Photographs from the 1950's

Bedouin man is posing in pool 

(P. Pennarts, 31 December 1953) 

A Bedouin man is posing in pool, and note channel on right. This picture has been taken a few seconds after Leo Boer took the previous photo. This pool shows evidence of earthquake damage; de Vaux believed that the earthquake was that of 31 BCE, meaning that it was not used in Periods II and III.

This photo belongs to The Palestine Exploration Fund

Gabriel's Vision - Translation

Translation (Semitic sounds in caps and\or italics)

Column A
(Lines 1-6 are unintelligible)

7.   [… ]the sons of Israel …[…]…
8.   […]… […]…
9.   [… ]the word of YHW[H …]…[…]
10. […]… I\you asked …
11. YHWH, you ask me. Thus said the Lord of Hosts:
12. […]… from my(?) house, Israel, and I will tell the greatness(es?) of Jerusalem.
13. [Thus] said YHWH, the Lord of Israel: Behold, all the nations are
14. … against(?)\to(?) Jerusalem and …,
15. [o]ne, two, three, fourty(?) prophets(?) and the returners(?),
16. [and] the Hasidin(?). My servant, David, asked from before Ephraim(?)
17. [to?] put the sign(?) I ask from you. Because He said, (namely,)
18. [Y]HWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel: …
19. sanctity(?)\sanctify(?) Israel! In three days you shall know, that(?)\for(?) He said,
20. (namely,) YHWH the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Israel: The evil broke (down)
21. before justice. Ask me and I will tell you what 22this bad 21plant is,
22. lwbnsd/r/k (=? [To me? in libation?]) you are standing, the messenger\angel. He
23. … (= will ordain you?) to Torah(?). Blessed be the Glory of YHWH the Lord, from
24. his seat. “In a little while”, qyTuT (=a brawl?\ tiny?) it is, “and I will shake the
25. … of? heaven and the earth”. Here is the Glory of YHWH the Lord of
26. Hosts, the Lord of Israel. These are the chariots, seven,
27. [un]to(?) the gate(?) of Jerusalem, and the gates of Judah, and … for the
sake of
28. … His(?) angel, Michael, and to all the others(?) ask\asked
29. …. Thus He said, YHWH the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of
30. Israel: One, two, three, four, five, six,
31. [se]ven, these(?) are(?) His(?) angel …. 'What is it', said the blossom(?)\diadem(?)
32. …[…]… and (the?) … (= leader?/ruler?), the second,
33. … Jerusalem…. three, in\of the greatness(es?) of
34. […]…[…]…
35. […]…, who saw a man … working(?) and […]…
36. that he … […]… from(?) Jerusalem(?)
37. … on(?) … the exile(?) of …,
38. the exile(?) of …, Lord …, and I will see
39. …[…] Jerusalem, He will say, YHWH of
40. Hosts, …
41. […]… that will lift(?) …
42. […]… in all the
43. […]…
44. […]…

Column B
(Lines 45-50 are unintelligible)

51. Your people(?)\with you(?) …[…]
52. … the [me]ssengers(?)\[a]ngels(?)[ …]…
53. on\against His/My people. And …[…]…
54. [… ]three days(?). This is (that) which(?) …[… ]He(?)
55. the Lord(?)\these(?)[ …]…[…]
56. see(?) …[…]
57. closed(?). The blood of the slaughters(?)\sacrifices(?) of Jerusalem. For He said,
YHWH of Hos[ts],
58. the Lord of Israel: For He said, YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of
59. Israel: …
60. […]… me(?) the spirit?\wind of(?) …
61. …[…]…
62. in it(?) …[…]…[…]
63. …[…]…[…]
64. …[…]… loved(?)/… …[…]
65. The three saints of the world\eternity from\of …[…]
66. […]… peace he? said, to\in you we trust(?) …
67. Inform him of the blood of this chariot of them(?) …[…]
68. Many lovers He has, YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel …
69. Thus He said, (namely,) YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of Israel …:
70. Prophets have I sent to my people, three. And I say
71. that I have seen …[…]…
72. the place for the sake of(?) David the servant of YHWH[ …]…[…]
73. the heaven and the earth. Blessed be …[…]
74. men(?). “Showing mercy unto thousands”, … mercy […].
75. Three shepherds went out to?/of? Israel …[…].
76. If there is a priest, if there are sons of saints …[…]
77. Who am I(?), I (am?) Gabri’el the …(=angel?)… […]
78. You(?) will save them, …[…]…
79. from before You, the three si[gn]s(?), three …[….]
80. In three days li[ve], I, Gabri’el …[?],
81. the Prince of Princes, …, narrow holes(?) …[…]…
82. to/for … […]… and the …
83. to me(?), out of three - the small one, whom(?) I took, I, Gabri’el.
84. YHWH of Hosts, the Lord of(?)[ Israel …]…[….]
85. Then you will stand …[…]…
86. …\
87. in(?) … eternity(?)/… \

Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?


Dominic Buettner for The New York Times

When David Jeselsohn bought an ancient tablet, above, he was unaware of its significance.
JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

When David Jeselsohn bought an ancient tablet, above, he was unaware of its significance.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.

It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.

Still, its authenticity has so far faced no challenge, so its role in helping to understand the roots of Christianity in the devastating political crisis faced by the Jews of the time seems likely to increase.

Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the stone was part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day.

“Some Christians will find it shocking — a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology — while others will be comforted by the idea of it being a traditional part of Judaism,” Mr. Boyarin said.

Given the highly charged atmosphere surrounding all Jesus-era artifacts and writings, both in the general public and in the fractured and fiercely competitive scholarly community, as well as the concern over forgery and charlatanism, it will probably be some time before the tablet’s contribution is fully assessed. It has been around 60 years since the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered, and they continue to generate enormous controversy regarding their authors and meaning.

The scrolls, documents found in the Qumran caves of the West Bank, contain some of the only known surviving copies of biblical writings from before the first century A.D. In addition to quoting from key books of the Bible, the scrolls describe a variety of practices and beliefs of a Jewish sect at the time of Jesus.

How representative the descriptions are and what they tell us about the era are still strongly debated. For example, a question that arises is whether the authors of the scrolls were members of a monastic sect or in fact mainstream. A conference marking 60 years since the discovery of the scrolls will begin on Sunday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the stone, and the debate over whether it speaks of a resurrected messiah, as one iconoclastic scholar believes, also will be discussed.

Oddly, the stone is not really a new discovery. It was found about a decade ago and bought from a Jordanian antiquities dealer by an Israeli-Swiss collector who kept it in his Zurich home. When an Israeli scholar examined it closely a few years ago and wrote a paper on it last year, interest began to rise. There is now a spate of scholarly articles on the stone, with several due to be published in the coming months.

“I couldn’t make much out of it when I got it,” said David Jeselsohn, the owner, who is himself an expert in antiquities. “I didn’t realize how significant it was until I showed it to Ada Yardeni, who specializes in Hebrew writing, a few years ago. She was overwhelmed. ‘You have got a Dead Sea Scroll on stone,’ she told me.”

Much of the text, a vision of the apocalypse transmitted by the angel Gabriel, draws on the Old Testament, especially the prophets Daniel, Zechariah and Haggai.

Ms. Yardeni, who analyzed the stone along with Binyamin Elitzur, is an expert on Hebrew script, especially of the era of King Herod, who died in 4 B.C. The two of them published a long analysis of the stone more than a year ago in Cathedra, a Hebrew-language quarterly devoted to the history and archaeology of Israel, and said that, based on the shape of the script and the language, the text dated from the late first century B.C.

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