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.

Newly Discovered Qumran Photographs from the 1950s


Photograph 39: Roland de Vaux, accompanied by two students of the Ecole Biblique, is surveying at L.96.

(L. Boer, 25 March 1954) Roland de Vaux, accompanied by two students of the Ecole Biblique, is surveying at L.96. Number 96 can be read on the light coloured rock on the left of de Vaux’s instrument. The men are standing next to the cistern (L.91) that was being excavated that week. Behind the cistern, the tents, the Dead Sea, and the mountains of TransJordan are visible.

This photo belongs to The Palestine Exploration Fund

In 1947, the first cave containing manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found by Bedouin shepherds, north of an ancient ruin known as Khirbet Qumran near the Dead Sea. Originally known as the ‘Ain Feshkha Cave’, the manuscripts and other artefacts in Qumran Cave 1 (1Q) illuminated both the history of the Biblical text and the variety of thought in early Judaism, and caused an international sensation. The nearby site of Qumran itself was excavated over five seasons from 1951, under the directorship of Father Roland de Vaux, of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem. De Vaux concluded that this remote and unusual site was occupied by a little-known ‘sect’ of Judaism mentioned by Josephus, Philo, Pliny and Dio Chrysostom: the Essenes. It was suggested that they hid the Dead Sea Scrolls ahead of the Roman army’s arrival in 68 CE.

This set of photographs illustrate a special website feature that is published on the Fund's pages at www.pef.org.uk/qumran/

While de Vaux published a number of important preliminary reports, he summarised the excavations synthetically only in his Schweich Lectures, for the British Academy, in 1959. After his death in 1971, de Vaux’s field notes and materials on Qumran remained unknown until Jean-Baptiste Humbert and Alain Chambon published these in 1994 with a dossier of important plans and photographs from the excavation. This publication was followed by a scientific volume. Nevertheless, there are points in de Vaux’s field notes where readings are doubtful, and, in addition, there are many aspects of the site that remained unclear during the course of excavations and areas undocumented by photographs.

His photographs indicate the huge energy of the excavations and their rapid progress, as well as providing evidence of obscure areas of the site. In addition, Bart Wagemakers was also entrusted with photographs by a journalist, Peter Pennarts, taken at the same time, which are equally important. The Palestine Exploration Fund is pleased to exhibit these photographs with comparative modern photographs and explanatory captions written by Bart Wagemakers and Joan Taylor, and is very grateful to both Annemie Boer and Peter Pennarts for permission to make the 1950s images available.

More Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls

Fun Fact 12

The original Scrolls Team of eight scholars was headed by the Dominican Priest, Roland DeVaux, the head of Ecole Biblique, a French Catholic theological seminary in East Jerusalem. DeVaux was widely criticized for withholding the scrolls from public scrutiny, by outside scholars as well as by members of his own team, and it was during his tenure that charges of academic scandal and theological bias were first leveled. Huh, imagine that – a priest allowing his religious convictions to prejudice his interpretation of scripture. Hard to imagine, cough, cough. Then, after the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expanded its borders to the Dead Sea and laid claim to the scrolls as well as to the archeological site of Khirbet Qumran. Over the next few years, the focus of the charges of academic scandal and theological bias switched from the Christian controllers to the new Jewish custodians. Roland DeVaux refused to work with the Israelis, but lost leadership over the scrolls project when he died unexpectedly (a little too unexpectedly, if you ask me) while undergoing minor surgery. The charges of obstructing full and unbiased disclosure of the scrolls’ content have remained upon Israeli shoulders to this day.

Reader's Review: A thought-provoking conflict between orthodoxy and heresy

George Smith

If you enjoyed Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code or J.G. Sandom's The God Machine, there's a new and different author Brown, Dr. Lawrence Brown, to be precise, and he explores mysterious adventures with a theological backdrop and underpinning that draws back the curtain often shrouding historical fact and myth, to show you the world of intrigue, scheming, and danger behind it all.

The three great monotheistic religions of our modern world, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam provide the setting for a battle between heretics and the guardians of orthodoxy, with the fate and destinies of many ordinary people at stake. The meaning of an ancient scroll contains some carefully guarded, and hotly contested, secrets. With the stakes extremely high, the quest to find and reveal the secret to the world plays out against the threat of drastic action by those who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets of the past buried to preserve their own power and the allegiance of their followers.

Just like Dan Brown's and J.G. Sandom's work, Dr. Lawrence Brown's writing has been unjustly targeted by narrow fanatics who write negative reviews to try to stem the popularity of a well written novels which portrays forces like the inner sanctum of the Vatican and the scheming and conspiring secretive agents of the Mossad Israeli spy network in a way that offends their politically correct viewpoint. This is a book which isn't afraid to gore a few ox's or reveal when the emperor really doesn't have any clothes, despite the cheers of the adoring crowd for his supposedly sartorial splendor.

This is very much a book for intelligent adults who like to be provoked to think, and wraps up a stirring adventure in the garb of contemporary reality, painting a highly visual portrait of a world split asunder by the possibilities of change. The effect is extremely cinematic, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this novel become the basis for a movie in the future. Right now, as readers, we are lucky, because we can now read the full, fleshed-out novel which future audiences will knowingly say was better than the film, with greater depth and complexity.

Franklin Institute exhibit to feature fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls

By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer

When the Franklin Institute opens its "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit May 12, visitors will catch a glimpse of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.

Centerpiece of the exhibit will be 20 scroll fragments found in the 1940s in Palestine near the Dead Sea. They are part of an extraordinary trove of nearly 1,000 parchments that include the oldest surviving texts of the Jewish Bible, several of which will be on display in Philadelphia.

Penned between 150 B.C. and A.D. 70 and sealed in urns, the scrolls make no mention of Jesus of Nazareth. But three ceramic bone-boxes in the vast exhibit will likely intrigue anyone interested in early Christian history.

Reader's Review: Hella Good Read,

Malina Arevalo-cruz

The Eight Scroll is smart, romantic, and adventurous. This story reminds me of the Da Vinci code. I supremely enjoyed Eight Scroll, so much in fact that the story still lingers in my mind even though I have turned the last page already. Reading The Eight Scroll, the reader gets a sense of actually being there; for this, I commend the author on his awesome cerebral writing style. Just download this book, sit down, and hold on--it's a good good read.

More Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls!

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.

Latrine Fuels Dead Sea Scrolls Debate

Researchers say their discovery of a 2,000-year-old toilet at one of the world's most important archaeological sites sheds new light on whether the ancient Essene community was home to the authors of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In a new study, three researchers say they have discovered the outdoor latrine used by the ancient residents of Qumran, on the barren banks of the Dead Sea. They say the find proves the people living here two millennia ago were Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect that left Jerusalem to seek proximity to God in the desert.

Qumran and its environs have already yielded many treasures: the remains of a settlement with an aqueduct and ritual baths, ancient sandals and pottery, and the Dead Sea Scrolls — perhaps the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century.

The scrolls, which include fragments of the books of the Old Testament and treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war, have shed important light on Judaism and the origins of Christianity.
Thanks to an Israeli anthropologist, an American textual scholar and a French paleo-parasitologist, researchers can now add another find: human excrement.

The discovery is more significant than it may seem. The nature of the settlement at Qumran is the subject of a lively academic debate.

The traditional view, supported by a majority of scholars since the site was first excavated in the 1950s, is that the settlement was inhabited by Essene monks who observed strict rules of ritual purity and celibacy and who wrote many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The second school says the people living at Qumran were farmers, potters or soldiers, and had nothing to do with the Essenes. The scrolls, according to this view, were written in Jerusalem and stashed in caves at Qumran by Jewish refugees fleeing the Roman conquest of the city in the first century.

The researchers behind the latrine finding, which is being published in the scholarly journal "Revue de Qumran," say it supports the traditional view linking the residents of Qumran with the Essenes.

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Reader's Review: Adventure of a life time


I had no idea when purchasing this book that I would be taken on the adventure of a life time. I was not only taken to new, far away, and exotic places but I was also transported through time, into ancient, and long forgotten days. As this story unfolded my mind had to wrap its self around new concepts, which although they were controversial, I welcomed the thought provoking ideas that kept me reading on and on. The authors descriptive writing kept the imagery in fresh my head long after I put the book down. I carried the characters along with me through my day. The religious questions that arose within me as I read through to the last page in one night, only strengthened my stance personally as a Christian. I only wonder if other readers questions will be answered personally as well.

Nights And Weekends Reviews The Returned

It’s been forty years since Nathan Jones returned from the jungles of South America, where the Amazon rainforest nearly claimed his life. The expedition left him with emotional injuries that’ll never heal and scars that run deep. In order to leave behind a record of the trip, he has to open up old wounds and return to a ruthless situation, if only in his mind.

Nathan, along with his screw-up brother, Mark, packs up and heads to South America with their geochemistry professor on a prospecting expedition. Few people travel into the Amazon and make it back, but that won’t stop Nathan. Not long into the trip, things began to go horribly wrong, and they find themselves hoping to survive as they bushwhack their way through the jungle.

Facing a hostile environment filled with poisonous snakes and all manners of ill-tempered creatures—including cannibalistic tribes—Nathan learns to be quick-witted and resourceful. As he travels deep into the dark reaches of the human soul, where depravity often lurks, he’s determined to make it back to civilization, no matter what it takes, short of sacrificing his team members.

The Returned is just as much psychological horror as it is visual horror. When faced with brutal situations, a man’s true character pops to the surface. Most become self-preservationists who subscribe to the old “every man for himself” adage. Would you stay behind with an injured friend, knowing it could mean your death?

Nathan Jones’s strength of character is astounding. Faced with unimaginable terror and hopelessness, he simply refuses to give up. This is the type of man that you’ll want with you if you ever get the psychotic urge to take a vacation deep in the Amazon rainforests, where those insanely huge snakes slither around.

Deep down, we all have the potential to be nothing more than savages, and Dr. Laurence Brown brings that to the forefront in all its ugly glory in The Returned. Everyone has the basic instinct to survive, which is a useful trait, but a few take it to the extreme, trampling over anyone who gets in the way of that survival. There’s no better place to test this than the aggressive and untamed environment of the jungle.

Sharp, heart-thumping suspense will carry readers through the story from beginning to end, not allowing them to catch their breath, even for a second or two. The author drops you into the story where the action crashes all around you, drawing you ever deeper into a horrifying plot of survival that’ll you’ll feel, see, and hear with extreme vividness. When it all ends, you’ll feel as if you’ve returned from the jungle, along with the characters.


Has the "Eighth Scroll" been found?

A 1,500 year-old text recently discovered in Turkey might come pretty close to fitting the bill. Written in Jesus Christ's own language of Aramaic (whereas the Bible is written in the dead language of Koiné Greek – a language Jesus never spoke), and hidden away out of fear of the message it contains (Jesus Christ's prediction of the coming of Muhammad), this new Bible threatens the foundation of Trinitarian Christianity.

Now, I can guess what a lot of people are thinking: "Turkey? An ancient Bible found in Turkey, of all places? And in present day? How much sense does that make?" Believe it or not, it makes a lot of sense. Let's remember that the oldest and most authoritative New Testament manuscripts, the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus codices, were discovered in the 1800’s. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi texts were found less than seventy years ago. So it is not beyond the realm of possibility for sacred scripture describing the teachings of Jesus to be discovered in modern day.

Historically, Turkey's Cappadocia was an extraordinary hold-out of Unitarian Christianity. The area is dotted with cliff-caves in which Unitarian Christians hid from invading Roman armies. By comparison, The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in Qumran, on the Dead Sea, in a total of 11 caves. Eleven. Count them. Cappadocia contains hundreds if not thousands of caves, scattered over a vast area. The largest Dead Sea cave was one room, no larger than a small bedroom of modern dimensions. The largest caves in Cappadocia are vast, labyrinthine networks. These are underground cities, some of which housed as many as 2,000 individuals.

Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) was the seat of the papacy at one time. It subsequently became the seat of the Islamic Caliphate. To this day, the Topkapi museum in Istanbul houses some of history's greatest religious relics, including Moses' staff and relics from the lives of the prophets Abraham, David, and Muhammad. This was an area rich in religious history and fertile in possibilities.

So it really shouldn't be a surprise to hear that an ancient Bible has been found in Turkey. The premise that this Bible was hidden away to protect it from being destroyed by the Vatican is entirely plausible. In choosing the four gospels that grace the modern Bible, Church authorities destroyed between 250 to 2,000 gospels that it deemed unworthy. Given those odds, if I had possessed a sacred scripture back then, I most certainly would have hidden it away for posterity.

My action/adventure novel, The Eighth Scroll, has been on the market for five years. The Eighth Scroll is a thriller based on the premise that a controversial scripture has been discovered – a scripture that has been hidden from the public eye because the "heresy" it contains might actually be true. Scholars have correctly believed this final text would either confirm or condemn established religious beliefs and practices. As a result, world powers will fight to possess it, or kill to suppress it. Pure fiction? Maybe, but maybe not. Today's headlines are remarkably similar to this story line: An ancient Bible has been found. The heresy it contains is Jesus' prediction of the coming of Muhammad. It was hidden all these years to protect it from the Vatican, who wanted it destroyed.

Hmm. Has the "Eighth Scroll" been found? Quite possibly, but only time and objective scholarly analysis will tell. Priced at $1.7 million just for a photocopy, it won't be available to the public anytime soon. So you can't read this new Bible quite yet. But you can read The Eighth Scroll. And with the e-book version priced at only 99 cents, it is a lot more affordable than the $28 million pricetag of this recently discovered Bible. 


Jesus predicted coming of Prophet Mohammad’ in Bible found in Turkey

Secret Bible: The 1,500-year-old tome was is said to contain Jesus' early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet's coming

The text, reportedly worth $22 million, is said to contain Jesus’ prediction of the Prophet’s coming but was suppressed by the Christian Church for years. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Mail)

inShare8By AL ARABIYA 

A 1,500-year-old Bible in which Jesus is believed to have foretold the coming of the Prophet Mohammad to Earth has attracted attention from the Vatican this week.

Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly requested to see the book, which has been hidden in Turkey for the last 12 years, according to the Daily Mail. 

The text, reportedly worth $22 million, is said to contain Jesus’ prediction of the Prophet’s coming but was suppressed by the Christian Church for years for its strong resemblance to the Islamic view of Jesus, Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay told the newspaper.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Biblical Significance


The Ten Commandments Scroll is the oldest known text of the Ten Commandments on parchment, as well as the most complete and the best preserved. The Nash Papyrus, which is in the Cambridge University Library, is less complete, is in fragments, and dates to 150-100 BCE. They are the only surviving texts of the Ten Commandments dating from before Christ. The next earliest manuscript of the Commandments dates back to around 1000 AD, a 1,000-year gap that highlights how fragile and perishable texts on parchment or papyrus are.

Reader's Review: Religion and Adventure, Together!

A. Christina Scales (Illinois)

This is an extremely entertaining book! I know the book was about people with different religions trying to obtain the scroll, but the story isn't about religion. I believe the book is about human choice. These people are doing questionable things (hiding, stealing, killing, lying) all under the guise of their religion. They are justifying their actions by using religion. This story reminds me of the Crusades, fighting over sacred land while breaking ever Godly law you can think of. Furthermore, this isn't just an ancient problem, it's a modern problem. In general, people in power do deplorable things in the name of a religion. It's certainly a perfect fit for a discussion in any book club.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Biblical Significance

The Dead Sea Scrolls contains not only the records and teachings of a particular Jewish community, but also the Bible of that community.

The significance of this part of the discovery cannot be overstated. When a scholar picks up a copy of the Hebrew Bible today, it is based on a text that was copied nearly a thousand years after the Dead Sea Scrolls Community flourished.

hese manuscripts—written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—represent the oldest known manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures, and provide a testament to the accuracy of the Bible.

If we want to study our earliest manuscript evidence for the Hebrew Bible, we must turn to the Dead Sea Scrolls.