Qumran Scroll of Ezekiel

I came across a curious comment in Moshe Greenburg’s Anchor Bible Ezekiel Commentary recently. He mentioned the fact that a full scroll of Ezekiel was found at Qumran, but it could not be opened. He referenced a particular article and left it at that. I thought “Yikes!” I mean if we found a whole scroll of Ezekiel, it seems like we ought to x-raying it and CAT-scanning it and whatver else we can do to recover its text. So, I’ve been hunting for the article. Here’s the reference: Brownlee, William H. “The Scroll of Ezekiel from the Eleventh Qumran Cave.” Revue de Qumran 13 (1963): 11-28.

Unfortunately, not very many libraries keep this journal and it’s not in any electronic databases I’ve used. But I did find this book: Brownlee, William H. The Meaning of the Qumran Scrolls for the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964. This book in general looks very helpful although I have not endeavored to read it. I searched for its comments on the Ezekiel scroll since it is by the same author as the article. He cites his own article in reference to the scroll but in the book he does state this: “An attempt to open this scroll was largely a failure, since the document had almost completely disintegrated into an unstratified mass of desiccated gelatin. A few small fragments (or scales) of text were recoverable from the outside and seem to indicate a general agreement with the familiar Masoretic text.”

So it appears this Qumran scroll is not as important as I initially thought, nor as recoverable. Undoubtedly more work has been done on it and as I find it, I’ll update this post. And if I do get my hands on the Brownlee article, I’ll tell you anything important it says.

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