Zev Radovan

The Temple Scroll. Discovered in Cave 11, the Temple Scroll’s laws, according to Cook, can explain Qumran’s location, the extent of its water system, the size of its population and lack of a dormitory, the large cemetery, and the proximity of the scrolls. The Temple Scroll specifies that three places are to be established east of Jerusalem for the ritually unclean to wait out their time of impurity. East of Jerusalem, Qumran is ideally suited for this purpose. Its water system could have been used for the unclean person’s required ablutions and ritual laundering.

If Qumran was a ritual purification center for a group of people who followed the laws of the Temple Scroll, as Cook believes, it would also explain the lack of a dormitory, since the unclean population would have fluctuated. The Temple Scroll even explains the large cemetery, since those following its rules would have had to carry their dead outside of Jerusalem for burial and then remain outside the city during the seven-day period of impurity. Cook’s theory also accounts for the presence of the scrolls themselves: “Every skin of a clean animal which they slaughter in their cities they shall not bring into [Jerusalem]” (Temple Scroll 47:7–8).