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.
Dead Sea Scrolls Mystery Solved?
Dead Sea Scrolls Written by Ritual Bathers?
In 1953, a French archaeologist and Catholic priest named Roland de Vaux led an international team to study the mostly Hebrew scrolls, which a Bedouin shepherd had discovered in 1947.
De Vaux concluded that the scrolls' authors had lived in Qumran, because the 11 scroll caves are close to the site.
Ancient Jewish historians had noted the presence of Essenes in the Dead Sea region, and de Vaux argued Qumran was one of their communities after his team uncovered numerous remains of pools that he believed to be Jewish ritual baths.
His theory appeared to be supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, some of which contained guidelines for communal living that matched ancient descriptions of Essene customs.
"The scrolls describe communal dining and ritual bathing instructions consistent with Qumran's archaeology," explained Cargill, of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
This picture features a ritual bathhouse - Mikveh or baptismal. The Essenes were ascetics - a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures. They paid great attention to purity and ritual bathing. The ritual baths were constructed according to the Jewish religious laws: the structure was built in the rock and not above it, to be in direct contact with the ground. The water should flow, undrawn, into the pool. The amount of water must be at least 1 cubic meter, 1.2M high, and the walls must be plastered. There are two sets of separated stairs: one side was for the way down to be purified, while the other side for the cleaned bathers.