Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center/Israel Antiquities Authority

A teacher’s words. It is often claimed that Jews of Jesus’ time were forbidden from writing down the lessons of their religious teachers, lest they be confused with sacred texts. But this claim is incorrect. Not only did rabbis allow students to note down their teachers’ words on tablets, but a text from the Dead Sea Scrolls known as MMT (a fragment is pictured here) proves that religious teachings were also documented in a more formal way, on papyrus. MMT contains the precepts of an unnamed teacher and must have been important to the Dead Sea Scrolls sect: Six copies were found at Qumran.