The Dead Sea
Biblically Based Apocryphal Works
Jubilees were know prior to
the discovery of small fragments of the text in Hebrew found at
Qumran. These fragments were found in Caves 1, 2, 3, 4, and 11.
There were known copies of a complete Ethiopic text and partial
Greek, Syriac, and Latin manuscripts. Jubilees is a retelling of the
Genesis story and the first part of the Exodus. It takes the form of
a revelation to Moses delivered by angels. Some of the Qumran
fragments are large and can be translated into English. The 4Q216
scroll is possibly the earliest manuscript of Jubilees and is dated
to the last quarter of the 2nd Century BCE. 4Q225 is considered to
have been written at the turn of the era, 4Q226 to the 2nd half of
the 1st Century BCE, and 4Q227 to the final decades of the 1st
Century BCE. A badly preserved scroll (fragment 2 of 4Q227) is
focused on Enoch, the angels, and the Watchers. It also speaks of
Enoch’s astronomical writings.
The Prayer of Enosh and Enoch
A manuscript consisting of ten
fragments (including three large fragments) was found in Cave 4.
These fragments appear to be a recording of prayers. The first
fragment seems to be linked to Enosh (line 10 in fragment 1, column
1 mentions Enoch).
The Book of Enoch and The Book of
The original Aramaic texts of
the Book of Enoch have been found in Caves 1, 2, and 4 at Qumran.
There is a complete Ethiopic translation and various chapters exist
in Greek. In Cave 4, seven copies much like the Ethiopic Enoch and
four copies of the Book of Giants were found. They are all dated
between 200 BCE and the end of the pre-Christian era. Most of the
fragments are too small for translation. There are some differences
between the Ethiopic text and the scrolls of Qumran; the Book of
Parables is missing in the Qumran text and the section on astronomy
is much more developed in the text from Qumran. The Book of Giants
is not present in the Ethiopic text. Themes of the Qumran text
fragments are the names of the twenty leaders of the fallen angels
and the amazing birth of Noah.
An Admonition Associated with the
This text, discovered in Cave
4, is based on Genesis Chapters 6-9. Only two fragments have
survived, and of the two, only one is translatable. It is dated to
the first half of the 1st Century BCE, but the composition of the
Admonition is thought to be pre-Qumran.
The Ages of Creation
This scroll deals with the
fallen angels and the daughters of men. The manuscript from Cave 4
is in a bad state of preservation.
The Book of Noah
The remains of what seems to
be a Book of Noah were discovered in Caves 1, 4, and 6. This book of
Noah is mentioned in Chapters 10:13 and 21:10 of Jubilees and in the
Aramaic text of the Genesis Apocryphon and Enoch. The Cave 1 and 4
fragments tell of the miraculous birth of Noah. The Cave 1 fragments
also tell of the state of mankind before the flood. The Cave 6
fragments speak of Noah’s birth.
Words of the Archangel Michael
In the scroll text found in
Caves 4 and 6, Michael the Archangel speaks to the angels (Gabriel
in particular). He relates a vision which is possibly concerning the
building of the tower of Babel. The Aramaic text fragments are in
very poor shape.
The Testament of Levi
Found in Cave 4, a damaged
section of two columns of text contain parts of Levi’s prayer. The
same text in Greek exist at Mt Athos and dates to the 11th Century.
Testaments of the Patriarchs:
The Testament of Levi
The Testament of Levi scroll
was found in Cave 4 and consist of numerous fragments. The Testament
is most likely that of Jacob, Levi’s father. The scroll is dated to
the end of the 2nd Century BCE and contains information about a
priestly figure that encounters opposition because of the wickedness
prevalent in his generation. Other small fragments found are classes
as belonging to a Testament of Judah and a Testament of Joseph.
The Testament of Naphtali
Dating to the turn of the era,
two fairly intact fragments of the Hebrew text of The Testament of
Naphtali were found in Cave 4. The theme of fragment 2 is a blessed
end time and is possible part of a sectarian text.
A Joseph Apocryphon
The two fragments of A Joseph
Apocryphon were found in Cave 4. The texts, extremely fragmented,
are dated to the second half of the 1st Century BCE.
The Testament of Qahat
Two fragments in Aramaic, one
complete and one in a bad stat of preservation, of the Testament of
Qahat were discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The text is “death-bed”
literature; a moralizing manuscript. It is dated by Carbon 14
testing to probably 388-353 BCE or 303-325 BCE. The text is
The Testament of Amram
The five or six fragmented
copies of The Testament of Amram were found in Cave 4 at Qumran. The
theme of the text is an admonition by Amram to his children. Some of
the text is borrowed from the book of Exodus. Part of the text deals
with a vision in which Amram sees Melkiresha’, the Chief Angel of
Darkness. He also speaks to the Chief of the Army of Light (Possibly
The Words of Moses
A farewell speech by Moses is
the theme of the Words of Moses scroll. Found in Cave 1, the text of
the four columns is badly preserved. The text relies on different
scriptures from Deuteronomy.
Sermon on the Exodus and the
Conquest of Canaan
Of the 16 fragments of this
scroll found in Cave 4, only one is large enough for a coherent
translation. The scroll tells of the Exodus and the occupation of
A Moses Apocryphon (a)
A Moses Apocryphon (a) scroll
is much like the Pentateuch. It gives instructions on how a person
claiming to be a prophet should be treated. In column 11 there is a
sacrificial ritual. The fragments were located in Cave 4 at Qumran.
A Moses Apocryphon (b)
This text is a re-working of
exodus 28:9-12. It deals with the subject of the two stones in the
shoulder pieces of the High Priests’ garment. Also, the secular head
of the community is discussed. These fragments were found in Cave 4.
Moses Apocryphon (c)
Found in Cave 4 at Qumran,
this text tells of Eliab, an elder who curses the Jews who do not
observe the Law while Moses was on the mountain with God.
Pseudo-Moses (e) is
undoubtedly related to Jubilees and also, possibly, to the Damascus
Document. The text is said to be a divine speech addressed to Moses.
The date of this work is possibly 2nd Century BCE, no later than
A Moses (or David) Apocryphon
The three small fragments of A
Moses (or David) Apocryphon found in Cave 4 deal with a historical
rendition of an unknown speaker. Og, King of Bashan is the only
actual name mentioned in the text.
Divine Plan for the Conquest of the
In Caves 4 and 5 at Qumran,
two badly preserved columns and several small fragments of this
scroll were found. The narrative seems to tell of the future
conquest and the division of the Holy Land. The manuscript appears
related to Joshua because of a list of areas, several which appear
in Joshua 15-21. The Conquest of Zion by David and the building of
the Temple are also included in the text.
“The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In
On-line Study Resources on the
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea Scrolls - Qumran Library
Dead Sea Scrolls Web Page of the University of
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