ABSTRACT: Old Caves and Young Caves: Two Qumran Collections?
Devorah Dimant has shown that the caves are intimately connected by genre and “Sectarianism.” Most probably, therefore, the "old" caves 1 and 4 represent the manuscript collection of the same group as the “young” caves 2,3,5,6,11 but at an earlier point in history. Assuming Qumran was destroyed by fire around 4 BCE, caused most probably by an attack (Jodi Magness), I try to address the question how manuscripts older than that fire survived.
The statistical exams based on the discrepancy in average age shows that the origin of the Qumran scrolls cannot be one book collection that was then distributed in haste before an attack to various caves. We have to speak of at least two collections and/or two events when they were hidden.
This article has been published in Dead Sea Discoveries 14:3 (Oct 2007) pp. 313-333.
(DOWNLOAD FULL PRINT VERSION [pdf]).
(This full version now replaces the abbreviated version, available since Oct 2005 here and at the Nordic Qumran Network website.
The now outdated version will continue to be accessible via a stable URL at the HAL database of the CNRS here .
Discussions in internet fora in 2005 (pdf)Echos in the .