JERUSALEM (Oct. 22)
Professor Yigael Yadin disclosed here for the first time last night the discovery of another Dead Sea Scroll, the longest found to date, which is estimated to be 2,000 years old and contains, among other things, a detailed description of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Addressing a conference of the Israel Exploration Society, the archaeologist said there is no doubt that the scroll was discovered in the Qumrun caves on the shores of the Dead Sea but that the circumstances of its acquisition cannot be revealed for the time being. He did say, however, that the new scroll had been kept in Jordan illegally and was in an extremely bad state of preservation owing to damage received in handling as well as to its age.
The scroll, written in Hebrew on very fine parchment, measures 8.6 meters and has been dated to the Herodian period which is in the second half of the first century B.C.E. Its legible portions contain four groups of subjects: enumeration of sacrifices according to the feasts of Israel, ritual rites including those pertaining to uncleanliness and putrefaction, a description of the Temple giving minute details and measurements, and royal statutes including mobilization orders in preparation for a war of extinction threatened by attacking foes.
The description of the Temple is not identical with those contained in other sources known today. Prof. Yadin said. The list of festivals mentions two hitherto unknown feasts — a wine feast and an oil feast. The new scroll, like the previously discovered Dead Sea scrolls, is attributed to the Essene sect whose origins and exact beliefs are still disputed by scholars. A Bethlehem dealer has reported a scroll stolen from him, and has instituted proceedings for its recovery.