David King and Richard Rubin wrote that "Libraries are institutions created and maintained for a purpose. They are an implementation of cultural beliefs, a concrete expression of social ideals."1 This is applicable to libraries that are extant and used regularly, as well as libraries that have been discovered as part of an archaeological campaign. As such, the discovery and evaluation of ancient libraries is cause for great cultural, anthropological, and historical rejoicing because with that discovery we are given immediate access to the heart and mind of a people. An opportunity to conduct an archaeological investigation of a library exists in the land of Palestine.

To the east of Jerusalem, and a little south, lying on the western shore of the Dead Sea, is a small site of ancient ruins known as Khirbet Qumran. Near this site in 1947 was made perhaps the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century, King Tut notwithstanding. In the caves around and near the site were found scrolls and fragments of scrolls that date to two centuries before Christ. Later archaeological excavation of the Khirbet Qumran site would show a relationship to those who occupied the site and those who placed the scrolls in the caves.2 While the treasures of the site have

served to further knowledge in the fields of linguistics, theology, and literature, they have also impacted the way we understand the people who occupied the site and so help us to understand ourselves and our own literary heritage. Drs. Eiseman and Wise expressed well this aspect of the value of the library as an archaeological tool when they wrote

These . . . writings are of the greatest significance for historians, because they contain the most precious information on the thoughts and currents of Judaism and the ethos that gave rise to Christianity in the first century BC to the first century AD. They are actual eyewitness accounts of the period.3

An inquiry into the makeup of the "Library at Qumran" involves investigation of the manuscripts found at several sites in the region, the Khirbet Qumran site, as well as the caves of Qumran. This paper, however, is concerned with the collection of materials found in only one cave at the site, Cave 4. It will evaluate the collection of Cave 4 in terms of the materials used to produce the manuscripts, the language of the various manuscripts found in that cave, and the genre of the manuscripts. The collection of that cave will be investigated from the view of a librarian and an historian to see what insight may be gained as to the cultural concern and makeup of the originating agency that created the library by investigating the types and genres of the manuscripts and fragments discovered there. This investigation will further serve to see the archaeological value of the investigation of a library itself as a means of understanding a people, rather than a look at individual manuscripts. We begin with a background look at the discovery of the caves and their manuscripts.4

Location of the caves and the History of their discovery

In Palestine, seven miles south of Jericho and about one mile west of the northwestern shore of the Dead sea, at an elevation of about 900 feet below sea level, lies Khirbet Qumran, an ancient site dating from the time of the Maccabean revolt (~165 BCE) to the time of the Roman destruction of Israel (70 AD).5 The site lies in a region of Palestine that has a hot dry climate, one that lends itself well to the preservation of ancient manuscripts. The site is also riddled with caves.

In the Spring of 1947, two 'dealers in antiquities' came into the possession of seven manuscripts that had apparently been found in a cave near the Khirbet Qumran site. The 'dealers,' Jalil Iskandar Shalim and Faidi Salahi, had received the manuscripts from Bedouin shepherds of the Tauâmireh tribe. Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, acquired four of the manuscripts (1QIsaa, 1QpHab, 1QS and 1QapGen). E. L. Sukenik of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem acquired the other three manuscripts (1QIsb, 1QH and 1QM).6 Later, "through intermediaries, Yigael Yadin, Sukeink's son, managed to acquire the four manuscripts belonging to Mar Athanasius for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem" and so the first manuscripts came to be owned by the Israelis.7

The cave in which these manuscripts were found was located in 1949 by elements of the Jordanian government who were unhappy about the fact that the manuscripts had been found in what they claimed to be their territory and they now belonged to a government whose legitimacy they refused to recognize. Unfortunately, by the time a trained archaeological team made it to the cave it had already been 'excavated' by the bedouin and monks of the Syrian monastery of St. Mark.

In hopes of discovering if there was a connection between the cave in which the manuscripts were found and the ancient site of Khirbet Qumran, the archaeological team that had arrived to excavate the cave, Qumran cave 1, commenced an archaeological campaign on the Khirbet Qumran site. Their findings led them to conclude that the occupants of the site at Khirbet Qumran had a hand in depositing the manuscripts in the nearby cave. Though most scholars agree with this conclusion, it is not without some disagreement within the scholarly community:

In recent years, however, alternative interpretations of the archaeological finds have been proposed. N. Golb argued that Qumran was a desert fortress and P. Doncel maintained that Qumran was an agricultural villa where balsam was produced. J. B. Humbert, who is in charge of the publication of the final report on the excavations of de Vaux (leader of the archaeological campaigns at Khirbet Qumran), suggests that the Essenes built a place of worship at Qumran on the site of a Hasmonean pleasure villa at the end of the first century BCE.8

Martínez notes, however, that "until the definitive publication of the archaeological material, it is impossible to evaluate the respective merits of these new hypotheses."9

The years following the initial discovery and sale of the Qumran manuscripts is a tale of the bedouin staying, for the most part, one step ahead of the researchers and archaeologists. The bedouin had discovered that there was money to be made selling the manuscripts and artifacts found in the caves around wadi Qumran and so their monetary zeal outpaced the scholastic plodding of their customers. The bedouin would discover a cave, plunder it for artifacts, sell the manuscripts and watch as the scholars descended on the cave in an attempt to undo the damage done by the bedouin and hoping to find some item left undiscovered. Sometimes the scholars would find a cave ahead of the bedouin or would discover some part of a presumably plundered cave that was overlooked. All told, eleven caves were discovered that contained the manuscripts and fragments that came to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The time between these initial years of discovery and wrangling over possession and today is one of the darker tales of the scholastic community. Following the initial excitement over the find and the eager anticipation of the availability of the scrolls for scholastic perusal and the production of publications came a period of consolidation and hoarding.10 It is only in the past few years that the scrolls have been made available to the public and we enter now into a period that should see an explosion of research and publication on the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The point of departure for this paper are the biblical manuscripts of Cave 4.

1 David N. King, Richard E. Rubin, "A Philosophy of Service" in Richard E. Bopp and Linda C. Smith, eds. Reference and Information Services: an Introduction, 2nd ed., (Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1995), 248.

2 Evidence gathered by Roland de Vaux, an archeologist with L'Ecole Bibligue et Archéologique Française, pointed very strongly to the possibility that the occupiers of the Qumran site were those who were responsible for the deposit of the scrolls in the various caves. This was evident from the numismatic, pottery, writing instrument and materials, and other evidences. The general identification of the occupiers of the site and the collectors of the scrolls is that they were Jews who occupied the site from between 100 BCE to 68 BCE. Edward M. Cook, Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Light on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 36.

3 Robert H. Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered: The First Complete Translation and Interpretation of 50 Key Documents Withheld for over 35 years (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994), 8.

4 Appendix A is a list of the biblical manuscripts that will serve as the basis for evaluation.

5 See appendix B for a map of the region, the Khirbet Qumran site, and the location of the caves. The dating is from de Vaux's evaluation of the archaeological evidence as reported in Cook, 36.

6 Most of this information, and what follows, is recounted in Cook, 11-43 and Florentino García Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, trans. Wilfred G. E. Watson (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996), xxxvi-xliv.

7 Martínez, xxxvii.

8 Martínez, xli.

9 Ibid.

10 This part of the tale is too long to recount in this paper. The above mentioned works of Cook and Martínez contain excellent accounts of the history of the consolidation, classification, and eventual release of the texts to the wider scholastic community.