The scrolls were found in caves adjacent to an ancient settlement above Wadi Qumran on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. A wadi is a dry riverbed or valley that flows occasionally after a rain; a perennial stream is called a wadi as well.


B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era), used by this author, are the alternate designations corresponding to B.C. and A.D. often used in scholarly literature.


See Otto Betz, “Was John the Baptist an Essene?” BR 06:06.



André Dupont-Sommer, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Preliminary Survey (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1952), p. 99 (the author’s preface is dated July 14, 1950). He felt the need to defend these striking formulations in a later book; see his The Jewish Sect of Qumran and the Essenes: New Studies on the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: MacMillan, 1955 [transl. from French 1953 edition]), pp. 160–162. Note, “I drew attention to these comparisons the Dead Sea Scrolls. In my desire to draw attention to this unexpected fact which the new texts seemed to disclose, I sketched out a rapid parallel which was intended to stimulate the curiosity of the reader, without pretending to solve a most complex problem at the price of oversimplication” (p. 160). As he said in this later publication, the resemblance between Jesus and the Teacher “ … is far from being complete” (p. 161).


Edmund Wilson, “The Scrolls from the Dead Sea,” The New Yorker (May, 1955), pp. 45–131 The book was published under the same title in the same year (London: Collins). It remained on bestseller lists for some time. In fairness, it should be said that Wilson was critical of Dupont-Sommer’s use of some passages from the Habakkuk Commentary on the grounds that they referred to the Wicked Priest, the archenemy of the Teacher, not to the Teacher himself (e.g., The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, pp. 92–93). But he does add unusually strong words of praise for the scholar of the Sorbonne (New Yorker, pp. 106–108).


Wilson, The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, p. 102.


Wilson, The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, p. 104.


Wilson, The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, p. 114.


Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking, 1955).


Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 327.


Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 328.


Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 343. In the same context he claims one need not think that any of the New Testament writers had ever heard of the Qumran group (pp. 342–343).


The Scrolls and the New Testament, ed. Krister Stendhal (New York: Harper & Row, 1957). All of the papers except two (and Stendahl’s introduction) had already been published between 1950 and 1955. Actually, two of the essays are not centrally about Qumran and the New Testament: Joseph Fitzmyer’s on the Ebionites (though he was responding to J.L. Teicher’s claim that the Qumran sect was Ebionite—a Jewish Christian group) and Nahum Glatzer’s on Hillel the Elder.


Stendahl, “An Introduction and a Perspective,” in The Scrolls and the New Testament, pp. 16–17.


The quotation is from Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951–1955), vol. 1, p. 42.


Frank M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran & Modern Biblical Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, reprint, 1980), pp. 203–204. A revised edition was issued in 1961; a German translation in 1967; and a reprint in 1980. References to the book are to this latest version.

Mention should also be made of the very brief statement that J.T. Milik devotes to the subject in his Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea, Studies in Biblical Theology 26 (London: SCM Press, 1959 [French edition, 1957]). He notes literary, institutional and doctrinal parallels and argues that Essene influence on the early Church increased after the time of Jesus and the first disciples, especially in Jewish Christianity: “Slightly later we find in one part of the Church Essene influence almost taking over and submerging the authentically Christian doctrinal element; indeed, It may be considered responsible for the break between the Judaeo-Christians and the Great Church” (pp. 142–143).


Herbert Braun, Qumran und das Neue Testament (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1966).


See, for example, Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), pp. 211–221


See, for example, Robert H. Eisenman, Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran: A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins, Studie Post-Biblica 34 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1983).


Barbara Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, Australian and New Zealand Studies in Theology and Religion (Sydney: Theological Explorations, 1979); and The Gospels and Qumran: A New Hypothesis, Australian and New Zealand Studies in Theology and Religion (Sydney: Theological Explorations, 1981).


J.L. Teicher, “The Dead Sea Scrolls—Documents of the Jewish-Christian Sect of Ebionites,” Journal of Jewish Studies 3 (1951), pp. 67–99.


Regarding Eisenman, see Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (London: Jonathan Cape, 1991). Also see Hershel Shanks, “Is the Vatican Suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls?” BAR 17:06.


Translation of Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1962), as are all other quotations from the scrolls, unless otherwise indicated.


Cross (The Ancient Library of Qumran, p. 233) notes that the mbqr and the pqyd (usually translated as episkopos in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) appear to be the same individual.


Joseph Fitzmyer, “The Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament after Forty Years,” Revue de Qumran 13 (1988), pp. 613–615.


José O’Callaghan, “Papiros neotestamentarios en la cueva 7 de Qumran?” Biblica 53 (1972), pp. 91–100. 7Q5, supposedly the best example, is said to offer letters from Mark 6:52–53—20 legible letters in all. The texts are, however, extremely difficult to read, and other identifications have been proposed for them. For the texts and other bibliography, see Florentino García Martínez, “Lista de MSS procedentes de Qumran,” Henoch 11 (1989), p. 223.


For bibliography and discussion of this point, see Braun, Qumran und das Neue Testament, vol. 1, pp. 201–204. As Fitzmyer has pointed out, 2 Corinthians 6:18 cites 2 Samuel 7:14, a passage that is also quoted in 4QFlorilegium (“4Q Testimonia and the New Testament,” Theological Studies 18 [1957], pp. 534–535).


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15.371 Translation of H.St.J. Thackeray, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press/London: William Heinemann).


See Kurt Schubert, “The Sermon on the Mount and the Qumran Texts” in Stendahl, The Scrolls and the New Testament, pp. 118–128.


The letters MMT stand for the Hebrew words miqsat ma‘ase ha-Torah (some of the deeds of the Torah), a phrase found toward the end of the work.


William H. Brownlee (“John the Baptist in the New Light of Ancient Scrolls” in Stendahl, The Scrolls and the New Testament, pp. 33–53) discussed these issues at length and proposed that John may have been raised by the Essenes, who, according to Josephus, adopted the children of others and taught them their principles while they were still young (The Jewish War 2.120).


For the text and extensive discussion and comparison of it with New Testament passages, see P.J. Kobelski, Melchizedek and Melchiresac, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 10 (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association, 1981). Here I leave out of consideration the more speculative suggestions of scholars who have found James the Just to be important in the scrolls Eisenman), Jesus to be the Teacher of Righteousness, or the apostle Paul the Wicked Priest (Teicher).


The texts have been published translated and analyzed by Carol Newsom, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition, Harvard Semitic Studies 27 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985); see her comments on pp. 37, 133, 144. See also Fitzmyer, “The Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament,” pp. 618–619. Some caution is in order because Melchizedek’s name is never fully preserved in any of the fragmentary remains of these manuscripts.