Great Isaiah Scroll from Cave 1

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

  - Isaiah 40:3

The mysterious Teacher of Righteousness founded the monastic community of Essenes at Qumran ca. 140 BCE to fulfill this prophesy. The Dead Sea Scrolls are believed to be the remains of their library. Isaiah 40:3 is quoted in the Gospels (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3 and Luke 3:4) to interpret the ministry of John the Baptist, who may have been a brother at Qumran before leaving to form a new sect.


Photograph: The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa), unrolled to columns 32-33 (text of Isaiah 38:8-40:28). Best preserved of all the Scrolls, it was written ca. 125-100 BCE, and hidden with two other scrolls in a jar in Cave 1, as Roman soldiers were advancing on their settlement in 68 CE. © John C. Trever