Fragments of about 900 different scrolls from the Second Temple period were discovered in 11 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. Every morning, before dawn, the people of Qumran gathered for common prayer and therafter went to work. Notably, the members of the sect, divided into three groups, each had to study scripture one third of the night. How did the people of Qumran succeed in preserving their Messianic enthusiasm within the group during a period of almost 200 years?
The Commentaries give details about the history of the sect and reflect on disputes, disappointments, and waiting in vain for the long-expected redemption Despite numbering a mere 100 to 150 members, the Qumran sect has had its influence on western culture, that is, Judaism and Christianity. The concept of prayers being recited at fixed times made a major impact and became the center of Jewish life after the destruction of the Second Temple and ever since. The sect's influence on Christianity can be gleaned from the epistles of Paul and, as described in Acts, by the lifestyle adopted by the early Church with its sharing of property, common meals, electing an episcopus (overseer), and more.
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