What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a cave, first by Bedouin shepherds in 1947. The discoveries continued until 1956. The scrolls the shepherds found were carefully preserved in ten jars. Not knowing what they had found, the shepherds sold the scrolls to a dealer. Over time, fragments of a total of 800 manuscripts—some containing biblical text—that had been undisturbed for 1900 years were found in eleven caves.
Every Old Testament book except for Esther is represented in these scrolls. These are the oldest copies of actual biblical texts that exist. Nonbiblical writings also are contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those materials help us understand more about life in the days that led up to the time of Christ.