“The Dead Sea Scrolls are undoubtedly the most important discovery found in Israel in the field of the Bible and history of Judaism and Christianity” (Yigael Yadin). Fragments of about nine hundred different scrolls from the Second Temple period were discovered in eleven caves at Qumran between 1947 and 1956. The first scrolls from Qumran were found in 1947 by two Bedouin shepherds of the Ta’amireh tribe. The core area of the Qumran settlement site has been preserved and adjacent to it is the visitors’ center of the Qumran National Park. The members of the Yahad community, today known as the Qumran sect, were Jews who left Jerusalem and went to live in Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea. They developed a unique philosophy and a strict life regimen. No one is better qualified than Hanan Eshel, with his vast experience in the field, wide historical knowledge and superb scholarship, to tell the full story of Qumran.
Hanan Eshel (1958-2010) was a world-renowned expert in the archaeology and history of both the First and Second Temple periods. He received bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, and PhD from the University of Jerusalem. He was Professor at Harvard University and Bar-Ilan University, and also headed research expeditions to Qumran, excavated refuge caves in the Ein Gedi area, and oversaw a survey of the caves along the fault cliff between Qumran and Ein Gedi . His research interests included most prominently the Dead Sea Scrolls, the settlement at Qumran, the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, numismatics and historical geography.