Psalm 151 from Qumran


Psalm 151, Dead Sea Scrolls, 166 B.C.E – 67 C.E. Ink on parchment, Israel Antiquities Authority. Infrared photograph, by Najib Anton Albina.

Between 1946 and 1956, 972 texts from the last two centuries B.C.E. and the first century C.E., known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found hidden in caves about one mile west of the Dead Sea, near the site of Qumran. The caves provided a stable environment for the preservation of the scrolls over two millennia, and removing the scrolls from the caves yielded many unforeseen conservational issues. Indeed many of the documents were mishandled in the decades after their discovery. Today, the scrolls are kept in a climate-controlled area that mimics the cave environment, and they are in the process of being digitized for future generations. This particular scroll contains a version of Psalm 151 in Hebrew. Until its discovery, it was thought that this particular psalm existed only in Greek, not in Hebrew. The psalm claims to have been written by King David after his battle with the Philistine warrior Goliath. Carbon dating has dated this scroll between the second half of the second century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.  

An archaeological site on the western shore of the Dead Sea, in modern Israel, where a small group of Jews lived in the last centuries B.C.E. The site was destroyed by the Romans around 70 C.E. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves near the site and are believed by most scholars to have belonged to the people living at Qumran.

A collection of Jewish texts (biblical, apocryphal, and sectarian) from around the time of Christ that were preserved near the Dead Sea and rediscovered in the 20th century.

A West Semitic language, in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written except for parts of Daniel and Ezra. Hebrew is regarded as the spoken language of ancient Israel but is largely replaced by Aramaic in the Persian period.

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