Cambridge University Library

The first Dead Sea Scroll to be discovered, in a manner of speaking, was found not near the Dead Sea, but in Egypt, in the Cairo Genizah, a repository for discarded Hebrew manuscripts considered too holy to destroy. Recovered in 1897 by Solomon Schechter, this Jewish sectarian text, now known as the Damascus Document, condemns the ritual practices of the sect’s opponents. Schechter concluded that his find was a medieval version of a much earlier text. His judgment has proved correct: eight fragmentary copies of the Damascus Document were found more than 50 years later in the Qumran caves. A recent book gives new readings of the texts from the Cairo Genizah.