New research into the Dead Sea Scrolls has found that four fragments from the University of Manchester Library (UK), heretofore considered to be blank, ultimately contain text.
The Dead Sea Scrolls remain an inexhaustible mine for archaeologists in search of discovery. This treasure, made up of around one thousand written scrolls, the oldest of which dates from two centuries before Christ, was found in 1947 in terracotta jars hidden in 11 caves on the shores of the Dead Sea, in an unusually remarkable state of conservation.
In mid-May 2020, the theological faculty of Lugano revealed the results of a battery of physical and chemical tests to which several fragments of parchment kept in the United Kingdom were recently subjected. At least four of these fragments, which belong to the Reed collection kept in the John Rylands library in Manchester, have revealed inscriptions which now need to be deciphered.
The results will be published in the final report on the Dead Sea caves, edited by the “Qumran Caves Publication Project.” This colossal project, which will make it possible to inventory and use all of the 960 manuscripts divided among several thousand fragments, has already been able to gather previously unseen information on Judaism in Palestine and on the spread of nascent Christianity.
However, one should not expect shattering or iconoclastic revelations, as certain journalists and even scientists in search of publicity have repeatedly stated. On the other hand, knowledge of Palestinian Judaism and, indirectly, of the beginnings of Christianity, could be advanced by this contribution—without taking into account the New Testament manuscripts discovered in cave no.7.