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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the position of the Catholic Church regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls?

A. 1. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy in caves around the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. As it turned out, these ancient scrolls, written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, dated from the 1st and 2nd centuries before Christ.

Among these writings are some of the oldest known copies of the Old Testament, including fragments from every book of the aforementioned. It is believed that these texts were part of a library kept by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes. In addition to biblical texts (about 40%), the Dead Sea Scrolls also include copies of extra- biblical literature, writings that were known to exist but not considered canonical, as well as previously unknown writings that describe the beliefs and rules for living as a faithful Jew in the Essene community.

The discovery and study of the Dead Sea Scrolls has demonstrated just how faithfully the Word of God has been transmitted through the ages. The words found today in the Old Testament are identical to the words written a century before Jesus lived on earth.

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