Archaeologist Shares Interesting Discoveries

Hope Austin

Dr. Jodi Magness’s lecture “The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls” drew a large crowd on Oct. 24 at the Miller Nichols Learning Center.

The lecture focused on Magness’s research on the site of Qumran and its relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“First of all, I am using the term Dead Sea Scrolls to refer to the collection of scrolls in the eleven caves around Qumran,” she said,”  not to other ancient scrolls that were found in other places around the Dead Sea that have no connections to this community.”

Magness’s findings suggest that Qumran was a settlement of an apocalyptic Jewish sect who believed the end was near.

“They believed that there would be a forty year-long apocalyptic war and, of course, the outcome was pre-ordained by God,” she said, “and this victory would usher in a Messianic era.  Another peculiarity of this sect was that they anticipated the arrival of not one, but two Messiahs.”

Magness’s findings are based upon those of Catholic archeologist Roland de Vaux, whom many find controversial.

“In fact, everything about Qumran is controversial,” Magness said.  “There are people who would disagree with everything I am saying.”

The Archaeological Institute of America provided the lecture.

“We get these lectures based primarily on the number of members in the Kansas City/Lawrence Chapter” said Jeff Rydberg-Cox, the Director of the UMKC Classics and Ancient Studies Program.  “So if you’re not a member, let me encourage you to think about joining.”

Magness holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

To learn more about her research visit her website