The Jews were really fed up with the Romans who conquered their land and told them what to do or not to do. From 63 BCE they had taken the power and demanded money from the Jews. It is this taxing which annoyed them very much and got three revolts coming over the nation. Roman procurators, whose chief responsibility was to collect and deliver an annual tax to the empire, did not mind to fill their own pockets as well, often by imposing confiscatory taxes.
When they dared to demand their say in the religious matters it was a bridge to far. Rome took over the appointment of the High Priest and managed to have only those in favour of Roman rule doing the service in the temple.
As in many religious groups the Jews had also different denominations. One of them, the Zealots (in Hebrew, Ka-na-im) became anti-Roman rebels who were active for more than six decades, and later instigated the Great Revolt. Their most basic belief was that all means were justified to attain political and religious liberty.
In the year 39 the half-crazed emperor Caligula (byname of Gaius Caesar Germanicus) declared himself to be a deity and ordered his statue to be set up at every temple in the Roman Empire. The Jews, alone in the empire, refused the command; they would not defile God’s Temple with a statue of pagan Rome’s newest violent death made it not possible. But Caligula‘s action radicalised even the more moderate Jews. Afraid that another Roman ruler would arise and try to defile the temple or destroy Judaism altogether, made the anti-Roman feeling grow stronger.
In addition, Caligula’s sudden demise might also have been interpreted as confirming the Zealots‘ belief that God would fight alongside the Jews if only they would have the courage to confront Rome.
In the decades after Caligula’s death, Jews found their religion subject to periodic gross indignities. Roman soldiers exposing themselves in the Temple on one occasion, and burning a Torah scroll on another.
In the year 66, ultimately, the combination of financial exploitation, Gessius Florus, the last Roman procurator, stealing vast quantities of silver from the temple, the continued unbridled contempt for Judaism, and the unabashed favouritism that the Romans extended to gentiles living in Israel brought about the revolt.
The Jews had enough of it and rioted and wiped out the small Roman garrison stationed in Jerusalem. The pro-Roman king Agrippa II, together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem. From Rome armies were sent to teach the Jews a lesson. The Roman army travelled through the province, which is about where modern Israel and Palestine are today, and cracked down on Jewish settlements.
Aiming to destroy Judaic writings, the Jews brought them in safety, in the desert, in caves. It is in such caves in Qumran that in 1947 a Bedouin shepherd discovered hidden scrolls, which today still offer new findings. Several sects used Qumran as a secret storage place to protect the writings from the Romans.
The analysation of the Dead Sea scrolls shall still take some years, but today it starts to unravel a lot of history and giving an idea how people lived and how their culture evolved.
More and more construction of the texts are presented.
In addition to fragments, the Schoyen Collection includes a cloth wrapper that encased one of the best-preserved scrolls when it was found in a Qumran cave.
This scroll “is called the Temple Scroll, and it’s over eight meters long,” Elgvin told forskning.no.
“It contains a radically new version of Deuteronomy. The text is from the second century BCE, and the scroll is a copy from the first century BCE,”
Researchers used carbon dating on this cloth to determine its age. The cloth was made of linen that most likely was grown between 70 and 150 CE, making the linen cloth much newer than the Temple Scroll.
|A portion of the Temple Scroll [Credit: The Israel Museum’s Digital Dead Sea Scrolls project]|
“This means that the cloth was woven after 68 CE, which was part of what surprised us the most,”
The scroll with the new linen cloth was then probably placed in the cave after the First Jewish-Roman War in Judea between 66 and 73 CE.
“Someone must have been there right after the Romans came, and the question is, who the heck put the scrolls there?”
Elgvin suggests that it may have been priests from Jerusalem, but it could also be that the Essenes didn’t disappear completely after the Roman attacks.
Read more at Archaeology news network: Dead Sea Scrolls still conceal many stories
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