By: Brian Chilton | February 9th, 2017
I remember the wonderful opportunity I had with my wife a few years ago. The Dead Sea Scrolls were displayed at an exhibit at the Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina. My wife and I had the opportunity to see many of the marvelous scrolls found in Qumran in 1956 along with additional artifacts from the period. The desolate area of Qumran may not mean much to many. But, Qumran is the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered. Qumran is near a wadi in the Dead Sea region (hence the name “Dead Sea Scrolls”). A young Bedouin boy first discovered the scrolls after throwing a rock into a cave seeking to find a lost animal. He heard something shatter and quickly told his father. The shattering he heard was one of the clay jars that held the scrolls. The residents and keepers of the scrolls were a group of first-century Jewish believers known as the Essenes. While the area is abandoned now, at the time the area was inhabited by this group who were a monastic group heavily focused on the apocalyptic and eschatological genres. They clearly expected the end to come soon.
Researchers discovered 11 caves in the Qumran area. Many of the caves contained several clay jars which held ancient Old Testament scrolls and writings held sacred to the Essenes. These scrolls are what is now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls have been deemed the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century.
For sixty plus years, researchers often pondered if there may be more caves than just the eleven. Some postulated the existence of a 12th cave. Could it be that more than just 11 caves existed in the Qumran area? Enter Dr. Randall Price.
Dr. Randall Price is on the faculty of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Price and Operation Scroll received permission last year to explore an area known as Cave 53. This January, Price and his team explored the area. To his amazement, he found that there was in fact a 12th cave! While the 12th cave had been looted, it is clear that the cave had previously held additional scrolls.
Even more fascinating, Price and his team postulate the existence of a 13th cave. The possible “13th cave” appears to be sealed which means that it hasn’t been looted. In turn, this means that the potential “Cave 13 could hold additional discoveries (meaning additional scrolls and writings) in the months and years ahead. If Price and his team’s theory holds true, we may be on the verge of another major finding.
Thus far, 2017 has started out as an amazing year for biblical archaeology. This is a major story that you will want to follow. Be sure to check out Dr. Craig Evans’ complete write-up on this story at the following link: https://academic.logos.com/new-dead-sea-scroll-cave-discovered-after-60-years/. Also, let me say congratulations to Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Chet Roden, both professors at Liberty University, and their research teams, who have made some incredible archaeological discoveries the past year.
About the author:
Brian Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University, his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University, received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and hopes to work on doctorate studies soon. Brian is the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.
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