The philological investigation of 2000-year-old scrolls

The research project "Qumran Dictionary" is dedicated to one of the most spectacular and significant findings of ancient manuscripts of the 20th century. A Bedouin boy, who was looking for a runaway goat, discovered scrolls in clay jugs in a cave near the ruin settlement Khirbet Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea in 1947. Further findings of manuscripts in the vicinity followed until 1956. The extent and the age of the finding rendered the texts a unique source for insights into[PK1]  ancient Judaism as well as the Old Testament and the background to the origin of the New Testament. Remnants of roughly 900 scrolls from the time of the 3rd century B. C. E. up to the 2nd century C. E. were salvaged. The task of the enterprise, which has been part of the programme of the Goettingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 2006, consists of the creation of a dictionary which comprises the entire vocabulary of non-Biblical texts of the Dead Sea and which presents the material etymologically, morphologically and semantically. The dictionary thereby bridges a language-historical gap between the older Biblical and the younger rabbinical Hebrew and Aramaic. The project has constructed a database which includes all of the source texts, interpretations and linguistic analyses of the individual words and which is constantly being updated. Moreover, the workplace has a specialized library with all editions of the texts from the Dead Sea at its disposal, which is continually expanded.  

[PK1]Oder: for Biblical studies and research on ancient Judaism.