Dead Seas Scrolls Naming Convention

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The Dead Sea Scrolls Naming Convention is an agreed-upon nomenclature used by Dead Sea Scroll Scholars to help define the existing documents for further study. Wherein the first character defines where the scroll originated, the second character identifies the location within the origin location, the third string helps summarize what is in the scroll, and the final superscript defines what grouping is to be used.

A Simple Example

The simplest example of this nomenclature is the one used by 1QIsaa .

This is broken down as follows:

  • 1 - Found in Qumran Cave 1
  • Q - means if was found in the area of Qumran
  • Isa - means it was based upon the biblical book of Isaiah .
  • a - means it was the first iteration of the book of Isaiah.

A More Complex Example

However, many sources contain fragments that cannot be organized into a single book or biblical reference. In this case, the scholar may find something like 4Q396 .

This is broken down as follows:

  • 4 - Found in Qumran Cave 4
  • Q - Located near Qumran
  • 396 - This is the 396th text organized.


Common Names

Even so, some texts have become so well known that they have been assigned a name that correlates them to a particular agreed-upon document. An example here would be 1QS .

  • 1 - Found in Qumran Cave 1
  • Q - Found near Qumran .
  • S - Serekh (1QS is also known as "Serekh ha-Yahad" or "Rule of the Community").