June 2014 – During an archeological dig in Israel’s West Bank in the 1940s and 1950s, over 900 religious manuscripts were discovered in 11 caves. They became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Recently, nine unopened Dead Sea Scrolls were found inside Israel Antiquities Authority storage rooms at Israel’s Ariel University.
The penny-sized parchments haven’t been opened in over 2,000 years. They were in leather boxes called phylacteries or tefillin. (See photo at left.) These boxes were worn by Jews during prayer and contain Bible verses.
Pnina Shor, curator of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls Projects, said, “Either [the people who discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls] didn’t realize that these were also scrolls, or they didn’t know how to open them. We’re going to do it slowly, but we’ll first consult with all of our experts about how to go about this.”
While the scrolls are not expected to contain any new information, Lawrence Shiffman, professor at Yeshiva University and an expert of Second Temple Judaism, said, “Given the amount of research that’s been done, important discoveries like this don’t overturn previous ideas. We’re going to be able to augment what we know about the tefillin already.”