Image: Unopened Tefillin
Credit: Shai Halevi via Israel Antiquities Authority
The Times of Israel is reporting that an Israeli scholar has discovered nine unopened Dead Sea Scrolls tefillin from the Second Temple period and unread for more than 2,000 years.
A report written by Ilan Ben Zion, a news editor at The Times of Israel, details the discovery of the tefillin parchments found at Qumran. Below is an excerpt from the news report:
An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.
Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. One case is bound by leather thongs to the head and one to the arm during morning prayers, as prescribed by rabbinic interpretation of the Bible. The case worn on the head contains four scrolls in individual compartments, while the arm phylactery holds one scroll.
Ben Zion gives a detailed account of how the parchments were discovered and the reactions of Dead Sea Scroll experts about this new discovery.
You can read more about this important discovery by visiting The Times of Israel online.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary