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In 1947 an Arab shepherd boy was throwing stones at the opening of a cave above him near the shore of the Dead Sea He heard a jar break and climbed up the cliff to investigate What he discovered has revolutionized the study of the Bible There in that cave stuffed in jars were scores of papyrus scrolls covering almost every book of the Old Testament While other scrolls have been discovered since in caves all along the Dead Sea the scrolls at Qumran are by far the most important as far as Christians are concerned because they are the only ones throughout the Dead Sea region that pre-date or are contemporary with Jesus Christ They are in fact the only original writings of Hebrew scripture known to exist that are as old or older than Jesus and John the Baptist All the other Dead Sea Scrolls are later works which bear the trademark of the Jewish Rabbinical School at Jamnia These were written well after Christianity had converted great numbers of followers throughout Judea the Roman Empire Greece and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea Unlike the scrolls at Qumran the later scrolls were written after the Romans had destroyed Herods temple in Jerusalem and had either killed or taken into Roman slavery millions of Jewish citizens Because these later Dead Sea Scrolls were all penned after these shattering events had taken place one cannot be certain that they were not written with an eye to counter and block the events and teachings that were swirling about them at the time The scrolls at Qumran however because they were written before any of these events occurred give us an unbiased picture of the original state of Jewish scripture at the time of Jesus Christ
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