Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary

By John J. Rousseau; Rami Arav | Go to book overview

Qumran

Importance
The Qumran community existed in the time of Jesus, and both John the Baptist and Jesus may have been connected with it.
Scripture References
Matt. 4:1, 11; Mark 1:12–13; 16:5; Luke 4:1; John 20:12; Acts 1:10.
General Information
Khirbet Qumran is located on the west side of the Dead Sea, above the left bank of Wadi Qumran, some 1,200 feet below sea level. Only since the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the area has the site itself attracted attention. It was first excavated in 1951 and then from 1953 to 1956 under the direction of Father R. de Vaux, director of the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Francaise of Jerusalem. De Vaux left his work at Tell el Far’ah (biblical Tirzah) to concentrate his efforts on Qumran. The excavations revealed the remains of a well-planned complex of buildings, cisterns, pools, canals, and ritual baths. These structures were build on a flat terrace of marl (a mixture of clay and lime). The entrance was on the north side through a large enclosure which incorporated the remains of an earlier building dating from the eighth to sixth centuries B.C.E. A three-story square tower protected the entrance.The area around Khirbet Qumran is scorched and dry; but one-and-a-half miles to the south is the spring of Ain Feshkah. Its abundant waters allow for the irrigation of a large area. In 1958, de Vaux excavated a building there, which he dated to the same period as those of Khirbet Qumran. He concluded that the ruins of Ain Feshkah were on agricultural land used by the Qumranites to grow their own food. Nearby were found the ruins of several tanks and canals, which have been interpreted as part of a tannery where the sectaries prepared the parchment needed for their scrolls.The oldest occupation level at Qumran dates to the Iron II period and is represented by the remains of a fortress. The next occupation level dates to the time of the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus I (135–104 B.C.E.), when the Qumranites probably settled in this location. Most buildings of this level were badly damaged; they are dated by coins found in the destruction debris. In this period the settlement, including its complex water system, reached its final size and shape. It was destroyed by an earthquake and a fire in 31 B.C.E. (Josephus, Antiq. 14, 5.2/121; War 1, 9.1/370). The last period of Jewish occupation began during the time of Archelaus in or shortly after 4 B.C.E. The settlement was rebuilt according to the same ground plan as that of the previous period. In the summer of 68 C.E., during the First Jewish War, the Romans razed the complex and it was never rebuilt. The Romans occupied the site until circa 90 C.E. Judging by Bar Kokhba coins discovered in the uppermost level, it was used by the rebels during the Bar Kokhba War of 132–135.
Archaeological Data
The excavations of Qumran revealed six main periods or levels of occupation:
1. Israelite period. This level was not given a number in the archaeologist’s listing of strata. All that remains is a fortress, dating from the eighth century to the sixth century B.C.E.
2. Level la. This level of occupation, of which little has survived, is dated to the middle of the second century B.C.E.
3. Level lb. This is the main level of occupation, dated to the first half of the first century B.C.E. (see fig. 56). Most of the buildings at Qumran were build during this period.

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Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Map of Palestine Key v
  • Title Page ix
  • Contents xi
  • Foreword a Down-to-Earth Jesus xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • List of Abbreviations xx
  • List of Figures xxi
  • List of Tables xxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Aenon and Salim 7
  • Agriculture, Cereals 8
  • Antonia, Pavement (Gabbatha, Lithostrotos) 12
  • Bethabara/Beth Araba/Bethany 14
  • Bethany 15
  • Bethlehem 16
  • Bethphage 18
  • Bethsaida 19
  • Boats 25
  • Caesarea Maritima 30
  • Caesarea Philippi (Banias) 33
  • Camps, Siege Banks 35
  • Cana 38
  • Capernaum (Capharnaum) [Hebrew, Kfar Nahum] 39
  • Cave of Letters 47
  • Chorazin 52
  • Coins and Money 55
  • Coins as Historical Documents 61
  • Construction, Cities 68
  • Crucifixion 74
  • Dead Sea Scrolls 78
  • Decapolis 85
  • Ephraim 87
  • Exorcism 88
  • Gadara, Kursi 97
  • Galilean Caves 99
  • Gamla, Gamala 100
  • Garden Tomb 104
  • Gennesareth (Hebrew, Ginosar) 109
  • Gethsemane 110
  • Golgotha, Traditional Site 112
  • Gospel of Thomas 118
  • Hebron 123
  • Herodium 124
  • Hippos/Susita 127
  • House 128
  • Jacob’s Well 131
  • Jericho 132
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s House 136
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s Tomb 139
  • Jerusalem, City of David, Ophel 142
  • Jerusalem, Gehenna, Akeldama 145
  • Jerusalem, Herodian 146
  • Jerusalem, Herod’s Palace 151
  • Jerusalem, Kidron 152
  • Jerusalem, Pool of Bethesda 155
  • Jerusalem, Streets and Stairs 161
  • Jerusalem, Tombs 164
  • Jerusalem, Upper City 169
  • Jerusalem, Upper Room 173
  • Jerusalem, Walls and Gates 175
  • Jerusalem, Water System 180
  • Jordan River, Fords 183
  • Judean Caves 185
  • Machaerus (Hebrew, Makhwar) 187
  • Magdala (Hebrew, Migdal; Aramaic, Migdal Nunya; Greek, Taricheae) 189
  • Magic, Miracles 190
  • Masada 195
  • Medicine, Physicians 199
  • Moses’ Seat 203
  • Mount Gerizim 206
  • Mount Hermon 208
  • Mount of Olives 210
  • Mount Tabor 212
  • Nain (Hebrew Naim) 213
  • Nazareth 214
  • Ointments, Perfumes 216
  • Olive Oil Industry 220
  • Pantera’s Tombstone 223
  • Pontius Pilate’s Stone 225
  • Pottery and Glass 227
  • Qumran 233
  • Ritual Baths (Miqvaoth) 236
  • Samaria, Samaritans 240
  • Sea of Galilee (Yam Kinneret) 245
  • Sepphoris (Hebrew, Zippori) 248
  • Shepherding 251
  • Slaves and Servants 253
  • Sodom and Gomorrah 257
  • Son of Man 259
  • Stone, Stoning 263
  • Sychar-Shechem 267
  • Synagogues 268
  • Tannery, Leather 273
  • Tax and Tax Collectors 275
  • Temple, History, Description 279
  • Temple, Royal Stoa 288
  • Temple, Sacrificial System 291
  • Temple, Service and Ritual 296
  • Temple, Solomon’s Portico 303
  • Temple, Stairs and Gates 304
  • Temple, Treasury 309
  • Temple, Trumpeting Place 311
  • Temple, Warning Signs 312
  • Textiles, Dyeing 313
  • Tiberias (Hebrew, Tveria) 316
  • Traditional Healing 318
  • Tunic without Seam, Dice 324
  • Tyre and Sidon 326
  • Viticulture 328
  • Weapons 332
  • Weights and Measures 336
  • Wood, Furniture 339
  • Tables 343
  • Historical Synopsis 357
  • Glossary 361
  • General Bibliography 365
  • Index of Scriptures Cited 369
  • Index of Early Jewish Writings Cited 379
  • Index of Ancient Writers Cited 382
  • Index of Names, Places, and Subjects 385
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