Sharing today from The Gospel Coalition.
An Interview with a Renowned Expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls
Since 1991, Weston W. Fields (PhD, Hebrew University) has been the executive director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation as well as the director of Dead Sea Scrolls Publications. Brill has published his 600-page monograph, The Dead Seas Scrolls: A Full History, along with his The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Short History. Since 1999 he has traveled throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, interviewing all of the first generation of Dead Sea Scroll scholars who were then still alive, including those who discovered scrolls in the 1950s or were the first to examine and reconstruct them.
The following interview is adapted with permission from an article he wrote for the Dead Sea Scroll Foundation website.
How significant was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many to be the single most important archaeological manuscript find of the 20th century.
How many documents are we talking about?
They represent more than 1,400 original documents, some complete or nearly complete (such as the Great Isaiah Scroll), but many quite fragmentary. There are about 100,000 fragments in all.
How big did the scrolls get?
Some of the larger scrolls stretch as long as 30 feet. The Isaiah scroll is approximately seven meters long (23 feet) and is made up of 17 parchment sheets, sewn end to end.