Lost Dead Sea Scroll Fragments : a database and analysis of the losses
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Despite many extraordinary claims about the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls in religious, cultural, and political contexts, a systematic analysis of the editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series and a multitude of other sources reveals that the whereabouts of well over 500 Dead Sea Scroll fragments were unknown to the editors. How can this be? There is a seemingly massive gap between the lofty words of scholars and the media about the value of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fact that the whereabouts of well over 500 fragments might be unknown, let alone the fact that no one seems to know how many Dead Sea Scroll fragments there are in total. The background for this thesis is a project initiated at the beginning of 2021 by Professor Årstein Justnes at the University of Agder, head of the “Lying Pen of Scribes” project. Justnes asked Martin S. Stomnås and me to systematically look for any mention of lost Dead Sea Scroll fragments. The three of us started looking systematically through several sources and compiled the information we collected into a database. That database includes about 500 entries with at least one fragment per entry.