Introduction: Dead Sea Scroll Detectives (04:07)
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a 1,000 years older than the Hebrew Bible and contain fragments of scripture. Experts question the authenticity of the new fragments being sold. The papers provide clues to the Jewish origins of Christianity. (Credits)
History of the Dead Sea Scrolls (03:53)
Scholars believe the scrolls were part of a vast religious library, abandoned by Jews during the siege of Jerusalem. Experts read alternative versions of the Sarah and Abraham story in the bible.
Cave Location (05:24)
Oren Gutfeld searches for more scroll fragments close to Qumran. Experts believe pools in the ancient settlement were used for Jewish ritual bathing. The Essenes anticipate beliefs of early Christianity.
Forged Scrolls (03:16)
Passages identical to the modern Bible are prized; fragments sold privately cost between $500,000 and $1 million. The overlap between the ideological interests of the purchaser and the content seem implausible.
Dead Sea Scrolls Discovery (04:17)
Khalil Iskandar Kando brokered sales to the archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox church and Eleazar Lipa Sukenik. Mar Samuel unrolled a scroll of the oldest bible manuscript. Bedouins looted the caves for more fragments and ripped them into small pieces.
Empty Caves (03:22)
Experts believe there is a new source of scrolls. Wealthy American evangelicals are willing to pay top dollar for rare pieces of biblical history. Hobby Lobby admits they illegally smuggled thousands of clay tablets and seals out of Iraq.
Authenticating Artifacts (05:14)
Kipp Davis studies suspicious fragments for the Museum of the Bible. Less than ten people have studied the fragments in the past 40 years. Experts describe poor conservation and preservation efforts.
New Conservation Methods (04:07)
The Israel Museum only shows a handful of manuscripts at a time and rotates them every three months. Tape residue penetrates the parchment, causing disintegration. A camera system, designed by NASA engineers, images each fragment in 12 wavelengths and can make gelatinized writing legible.
Detecting Forgeries (02:54)
Davis discusses determining that a fragment owned by a Norwegian collector was a forgery; many can pass Carbon-14 dating.
Synagogue of Ein Gedi (04:07)
Pnina Shor describes how the Antiquities Authority imaged charcoal chunks to find text. Brent Seales and Tim Vetters wonder why the scrolls were carbonized instead of consumed.
Museum of the Bible Findings (03:47)
Davis examines a fragment that contains text from Genesis and determines it is likely not authentic. Further testing reveals that sediments and inks found on the fragments do not match those found on authentic scrolls.
Who Forged the Scrolls? (07:30)
Seales describes using a high resolution CT scanner to image the documents. The charcoal is from the first chapter of Leviticus. Gutfeld believes there are more scrolls in the caves near Qumran.
Credits; Dead Sea Scroll Detectives (00:51)
Credits; Dead Sea Scroll Detectives
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