The Dead Sea Scrolls
Part 2

Calendars, Liturgies, and Prayers

Calendars of Priestly Courses
The Calendars of Priestly Courses Scroll contains fragments of eleven manuscripts of the ‘solar’ calendars of the community of Qumran. The poorly preserved fragments record names of Jewish and Roman political figures, dated historical facts, and the dates of festivals and Sabbaths.

Calendric Signs (Otot)
This manuscript depicts a system based on a weekly rotation of the 24 priestly courses. The priestly courses were of a six-year period and were constructed into six Jubilees consecutively.

Horoscope or Astrological Physiognomies
One Hebrew document and two Aramaic documents found in Cave 4 at Qumran contain fragments of ‘horoscopes’ that claim a relationship between the features and destiny of an individual and the position of the stars on the day of his birth. These fragments date probably to the end of the 1st Century BCE.

Phases of the Moon
The phases of the moon are contained in this fragmented text from Cave 4. Twenty-six fragments of the scroll were found.

A Zodiacal Calendar with a Brontologion
This fragmented calendar shows the passage of the moon through the signs of the Zodiac during the year, beginning with the month of Nisan and ending with Adar. The fragments found begin in the month of Tevet, continue through Tishri, and end with Adar.
At the end of the text, a brontologion (a prediction of ill-omens interpretated by the sound of thunder on a certain day of the month) tells of a famine and an invasion by a foreign army.

Order of Divine Office
Five fragments of a liturgical work were discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The fragments consist of a list of songs and words of praise that were to be sung during the night and day on consecutive days of a month.

The Words of the Heavenly Lights
The Words of the Heavenly Lights text contains three fragments of a manuscript. They are collective prayers for days of the week. The date of mid-2nd Century BCE is contested.

Liturgical Prayer
The fragments of the Liturgical Prayer, found in Cave 1, are parts of a collection of Jewish festival prayers. It is possible that the fragments are a part of the Pentecostal Liturgy.

Prayers for Festivals
These fragments from Cave 4 relate partly to the Liturgical Prayer scroll. Two of the prayers are directly associated with the Day of Firstfruits and the Day of Atonement. They are dated to the beginning of the 1st Century CE.

Daily Prayers
Evening and morning benedictions for each day of the month are contained in the 225 papyrus fragments of the Daily Prayers manuscript found in Qumran Cave 4. The calendar seems to be a lunar calendar and the date of the writing is thought to be the first quarter of the 1st Century BCE.

Prayer or Hymn Celebrating the Morning and the Evening
This collection of prayers, discovered in Cave 4, was written around 100 BCE. The fragments are of a collection of liturgical prayers that can only be translated in part due to their poor condition.

Blessings
These fragments of a scroll that were originally part of a manuscript that contains the Community Rule and Messianic Rule, were found in Cave 1 at Qumran. They are blessings for the members of the covenant, the priestly head of the community, the sons of Zadok, the Priest, and the Prince of the congregation (The Messiah of Israel). These fragments are dated to about 100 BCE.

Benedictions
In Cave 4 at Qumran there was found five fragments of a manuscript consisting of liturgical blessings and curses. They correspond with Community Rule II and War Rule XIII. Fragment 4Q286I corresponds with the Songs of the Holocaust for the Sabbath.

Confession Ritual
These fragments of text found in Cave 4 are a communal confession of sins. They are all written in the 1st person and in the language style of Psalm LI, Jeremiah, Deuteronomy, the prayers of Ezra, and Daniel.

Purification Ritual
These papyrus fragments (badly worn) from Cave 4 consist of prayers for purification from different types of ritual uncleanness. They were most possibly written in the early 1st Century BCE.

A Liturgical Work
Found in Cave 4 at Qumran, A Liturgical Work very much resembles the language of the Thanksgiving Hymns.

Apocalyptic Works

Apocalyptic Chronology of Apocryphal Weeks
This fragmented manuscript found in Cave 4 consists of only seven lines that are badly mutilated. It has been dated to the 1st Century BCE. The content seems to belong to an apocalyptic world history account and is divided into weeks of years. It could possibly be focused on the Temple of Jerusalem.

Conquest of Egypt and Jerusalem or Acts of a Greek King
Containing only broken lines, this fragment of ten lines calls to mind the account in Daniel XI concerning the “King of the North”. The fragment was found at Qumran in Cave 4.

The Triumph of Righteousness or Mysteries
The fragments of this manuscript deal with the theme of the struggle between good and evil. They were found in Caves 1 and 4 and the fragments of Cave 4 are in very poor condition.

A Messianic Apocalypse
Often referred to as the “Resurrection Fragment”, this manuscript consists of eleven fragments and six smaller pieces. The fragments, found in Cave 4, are dated to the beginning of the 1st Century BCE and they are like poetry of the late biblical period. In A Messianic Apocalypse, resurrection and healing are connected to the Kingdom of God.

Wisdom Literature

The Seductress
In Cave 4 at Qumran a fairly well preserved, long text was found. The manuscript is a warning of the danger of false doctrines. It uses the allegory of a harlot to expound that point. The scroll is dated to the 1st Century BCE, but could possibly be much older.

Exhortation to Seek Wisdom
A text dated from the first half of the 1st Century BCE was discovered in Cave 4. The large fragment tells of a teacher encouraging the people to search for wisdom.

Parable of the Tree
In Cave 4 a badly preserved fragment of this text was found. The opening lines are the only articulate lines in the manuscript. They appear to be about a giant ‘good’ tree which produces thorns.

A Sapiential Work (i)
The first four lines from a column of a Wisdom text are the only fragments of this work that have been preserved.

A Sapiential Work (ii)
A Sapiential Work (ii) is a Wisdom manuscript that has survived in six fragments, one from Cave 1 and five from Cave 4. They are ll dated 30-1 BCE except for scroll 423 which is dated to the first half of the 1st Century CE. The scrolls’ language is much like the Community Rule, the Damascus Document, and the Thanksgiving Hymns. Some of the subjects contained in the work are God as provider to all his creatures, God as a permanent judge of the wicked, a modest life, and a warning that God will try man.

A Sapiential Work (iii)
This Wisdom scroll, consisting of two badly fragment copies, was discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. It tells of a righteous man in universal terms. It could be classed as sectarian because of its relationship to the Community Rule scroll.

A Sapiential Work (iv)
This scroll, found in Cave 4, is instructions to a just man on the way to gaining wisdom.

Bless My Soul
The five manuscripts found in Cave 4 is a composition in poetic form. A sixth scroll (4Q439) is thought to be related to the Bless My Soul Scroll.

Songs of the Sage
Small portions of a manuscript found in Cave 4 at Qumran deals with Sapiential psalms and exorcism poems. This scroll is thought to have been written at the end of the 1st Century BCE. An interesting feature of the first fragment is a list of the names of demons.

Beatitudes
This scroll found in Cave 4 recalls the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 in the New Testament.

Part 3

“The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English”
Amazon.com

Links to On-line Study Resources on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls
Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls - Qumran Library

Dead Sea Scrolls Web Page of the University of St Andrews

at Books for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Robert Eisenman & Michael Wise, Penguin Books, 1992
The Dead Sea Scriptures, Theodor H. Gaster, Peter Smith Publishing, 1976
The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, Florentino Garcia Martinez, William B. Eerdmans, 1996
Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr. & Edward Cook, Harper, 1996