ON THE COVER: An eerie light illuminates Mount Zion, the western hill of Jerusalem, highlighting the bell tower of Dormition Abbey (where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary passed away), the conical roof of the Church of the Dormition, and the small minaret above the Cenacle building (hailed by pilgrims as the site of the Last Supper and King David’s tomb). Tradition places many Biblical events on Mount Zion, but who actually lived there in the New Testament period? In “Jerusalem’s Essene Gateway—Where the Community Lived in Jesus’ Time,”
Mount Zion resident Bargil Pixner recounts his exploration of a gate in the city wall that once circumvallated this hill. He concludes that the Essenes, the Jewish community that many scholars believe produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, once occupied southern Mount Zion.