Biblical Hebrew

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The Great Isaiah Scroll

The Isaiah Scroll, designated 1QIsaa and also known as the Great Isaiah Scroll, 
is one of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls that were first discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1946 from Qumran Cave 1.

The scroll is written in Hebrew and contains the entire Book of Isaiah from beginning to end, apart from a few small damaged portions.
It is the oldest complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, being approximately 1000 years older than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts known 
before the scrolls' discovery. 

1QIsaa is also notable in being the only scroll from the Qumran Caves to be preserved almost in its entirety.

The scroll is written on 17 sheets of parchment. It is particularly large, being about 734 cm (24 feet) long and ranges from 25.3 to 27 cm high (10 to 10.6 inches) with 54 columns of text.

History to discovery

The exact authors of 1QIsaa are unknown, as is the exact date of writing. 
Pieces of the scroll have dated using both radiocarbon dating and palaeographic/scribal dating giving calibrated date ranges between 356 and 103 BCE and 150–100 BCE respectively.
This seemingly fits with the theory that the scroll(s) was a product of the Essenes, a Jewish sect, first mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, and later by Josephus and Philo Judaeus.

Further supporting this theory are the number of Essene sectarian texts found in the surrounding Qumran Caves, 
and the lining up of recorded beliefs to artifacts or structures at the Qumran site 
(like communal meals and the obsession with ritual purity lining up with rooms with hundreds of plates and many ritual baths found at the site).
This theory is the most accepted in scholarly discourse. 

Further evidence that 1QIsaa was used by the sectarian community at Qumran is that scholars Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich argue that the same scribe who copied the sectarian scroll Rule of the Community (1QS) also made a correction to 1QIsaa.
The reason for the placement of 1QIsaa in Qumran Cave 1 is still unknown, though it has been speculated that it was placed, along with the other scrolls, by Jews (Essene or not) fleeing the Roman forces during the First Jewish–Roman War (c. 66–73 CE).

The scroll was discovered in Qumran Cave 1, by a group of three Ta'amireh shepherds, near the Ein Feshkha spring 
off the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between late 1946 and early 1947; 
initially discovered when one of the shepherds heard the sound of shattering pottery after throwing a rock while searching for a lost member of his flock.
Once the shepherds agreed to return in a few days, the youngest one, 
Muhammed edh-Dhib returned alone before them, finding a cave filled with broken and whole jars and fragments of scrolls.
Of the intact jars, edh-Dhib found all but two empty; one was filled with reddish earth, and the other with a leather scroll and two oblong items covered in a black wax or pitch, (later found to be the Great Isaiah Scroll, Habakkuk Commentary (1QpHab), and the Community Rule (1QS) respectively). 

Edh-Dhib returned with the three scrolls to the displeasure of the other shepherds for his solo journey, and the scrolls were transferred to a Ta'amireh site southeast of Bethlehem where they were kept in a bag 
suspended on a tent pole for several weeks. During this time, the front cover of 1QIsaa broke off.
The three scrolls were brought to an antiques dealer in Bethlehem for appraisal.