Scrolls ‘not written by Essenes’

A Hebrew University academic has caused uproar by claiming that the sect which wrote the 930 Dead Sea Scrolls didn’t exist.

Since the discovery of the scrolls in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1947, scholars have believed they originated with a Jewish sect called the Essenes. But Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish philosophy, has claimed they were taken to Qumran in the 2nd century BCE by the Sadducees, the Jewish priests who date from the Temple era.

The Essenes were “a literary invention of a Utopian society that lived a benevolent and chaste life”, claims Prof Elior, who believes the scrolls show practices of Sadducees.

    Last updated: 1:34pm, March 19 2009