Hershel Shanks

Inside Qumran Cave 4. The fourth Qumran cave in which scrolls were discovered proved to be the richest, containing some 15,000 fragments from more than 580 documents. Close study has revealed that many of the biblical fragments from Cave 4 preserve readings that deviate from the standard readings of the Masoretic Text. To scholars, these variants are uniquely valuable because of their antiquity: The Dead Sea Scrolls are 1,000 years older than our earliest complete edition of the Masoretic Text. Ronald Hendel analyzes four of the scroll fragments found in Qumran Cave 4 and concludes that each one provides a more original reading than that which has been preserved by the Masoretic tradition