The Qumran Library
“Being versed from their early years in the holy books [and] various forms of purification . . .” (Josephus, Jewish War II, viii, 12)
All the books of the Hebrew Bible, except for Nehemiah and Esther, were discovered at Qumran. In some cases, several copies of the same book were found (for instance, there were thirty copies of Deuteronomy), while in others, only one copy came to light (e.g., Ezra). Sometimes the text is almost identical to the Masoretic text, which received its final form about one thousand years later in medieval codices; and sometimes it resembles other versions of the Bible (such as the Samaritan Pentateuch or the Greek translation known as the Septuagint). Scrolls bearing the Septuagint Greek translation (Exodus, Leviticus) and an Aramaic translation (Leviticus, Job) have survived as well.
The most outstanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls is undoubtedly the Isaiah Scroll (Manuscript A) – the only biblical scroll from Qumran that has been preserved in its entirety (it is 734 cm long). This scroll is also one of the oldest to have been preserved; scholars estimate that it was written around 100 BCE. In addition, among the scrolls are some twenty additional copies of Isaiah, as well as six pesharim (sectarian exegetical works) based on the book; Isaiah is also frequently quoted in other scrolls. The prominence of this particular book is consistent with the Community’s messianic beliefs, since Isaiah (Judean Kingdom, 8th century BCE) is known for his prophecies concerning the End of Days.