- Acacia tortilis
- A tree prevalent in the southern wadis (valleys)
- Books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but
excluded from Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament.
- A Semitic language known since the ninth century B.C.E.;
official language of the Persian empire; used extensively in
southwest Asia and by the Jews after the Babylonian exile; the
cursive script replaced the ancient paleo-Hebrew script for secular
writing as well as for holy scriptures.
- Before the Common Era; indicates that a time division
falls before the Christian era; same as B.C.
- Common Era; indicates that a time division falls within the
Christian era; same as A.D.
- A collection of books accepted as holy scripture.
- Carbon-14 dating
- A heavy radioactive isotope of carbon of mass
number 14 used in dating archaeological and geological materials
- Roman Republican coins, originally cast in silver and
worth 10 asses; known as a "penny" in the New Testament. The
Library of Congress exhibition includes coins from the mid-first
- Essenes ("Judah" in some Qumran writings)
- One of the three orders
of Jews during the Second Temple Period; a separatist group that
formed an ascetic monastic community and, in response to
apocalyptic visions, retreated to the wilderness.
- First Temple Period
- ca. 850 - 586 B.C.E.; ended with destruction
of the First Temple and exile of the Hebrews.
- Flavius Josephus ca. 37 - 100 C.E.
- Jewish historian who defined
and described the characteristics of the three existing Jewish
orders: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes; for example,
he reported that those Essene men who chose to marry were primarily
concerned about their wives' morality.
- A storehouse for damaged or defective Hebrew writings and
- Halakhah (pl. halakhot)
- Corpus of Jewish religious law;
disagreement on these matters caused the Judean Desert sect to
secede from Israel.
- A family of Jewish patriots to which the Maccabees
belonged; period of Jewish history from 167 - 30 B.C.E.
- Associated especially with Herod the Great's reign 37-4
B.C.E.; a period of Jewish history from 30 B.C.E - 70 C.E.
- Southern region of ancient Palestine; the Qumran region was
a barren area within the Judean desert which yielded the Dead Sea
- Third book of Jewish and Christian scripture consisting
mainly of priestly legislation. Scroll fragments are included in
the Library of Congress exhibition.
- A priestly Jewish family which ruled Palestine in the
second and first centuries B.C.E. and wrested Judea from the rule
of the Seleucids and their Greek practices. The Jewish holiday
Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees' recapture of Jerusalem and
reconsecration of the Temple in December 164 B.C.E.
- Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine situated on a butte
west of the Dead Sea; last stronghold of the Zealots who committed
suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.
- Relating to a body of notes on the textual traditions
of the Hebrew Old Testament; compiled during the first millennium
of the Christian era; traditional text of the Hebrew Bible.
- Collection of Jewish traditions based on rabbinic
traditions and compiled about 200 C.E.; part of the Talmud.
- Relating to the study of ancient writings and
inscriptions or to an ancient manner of writing.
- Ancient Hebrew script; one of the offshoots of the
Phoenician script; used exclusively in the First Temple period and
in priestly circles and as a symbol of nationalistic revival in the
Second Temple Period. A version of this script is still used today
by the Samaritans.
- Prepared animal skin on which text is written.
- The first five books of scripture: Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the first of three major divisions
of the Hebrew Bible
- Pharisees ("Ephraim" in some Qumran writings)
- One of the three
orders of Jews during the Second Temple period; noted for strict
observance of rites and interpretation of the law; their teachings
concerned the immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body,
future retribution, and a coming Messiah.
- Phylacteries (tefillin)
- Two small leather boxes containing four
scriptural passages in Hebrew and traditionally worn on the left
arm and on the forehead by Jewish men during morning prayers.
- Plaited baskets
- Made of single coiled braid in which successive
courses are joined around cords to form a ribbed texture; each
basket had two arched handles.
- Pliny the Elder ca. 23 - 79 C.E.
- Upper class Roman historian who
wrote about the Essenes and identified their location as the Dead
- Psalms (tehillim)
- Collection of Biblical hymns, i.e. sacred songs
or poems used in worship and non-canonical passages.
- Pseudonymous or anonymous Jewish religious
writings of the period 200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E., especially those
attributed to biblical characters.
- Northern Dead Sea desert plain, part of Jordan (1949-
1967); region of the eleven caves yielding Hebrew biblical,
sectarian, and literary scrolls. It is the habitation site where
excavations have uncovered a complex of communal structures and
generated numerous artifacts; the site was founded in the second
century B.C.E. and abandoned about the time of the Roman offensive
of 68 C.E. when the site was destroyed.
- Sadducees ("Menasseh" in some Qumran writings)
- One of the three
orders of Jews during the Second Temple Period; priestly and
aristocratic Jewish families who interpreted the law more literally
than the Pharisees and were much less formal in the observance of
rites and traditions; denied the concept of immortality and tended
- Second Temple Period
- 520 B.C.E - 70 C.E.; a time of crucial
development for monotheistic religions; ended with the destruction
of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Period in which the Dead Sea
Scrolls were copied.
- Characteristic of a sect, a religious group adhering to
a distinctive doctrine.
- The Greek version of the Old Testament (including the
Apocrypha) translated by Jewish scholars in the third to second
centuries B.C.E.; the first vernacular translation of the Bible and
still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
- Seleucid Empire
- Created out of part of Macedonian Empire after
death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.E.) and, at its height,
extended from southern coast of modern Turkey south through
Palestine and east to India's border; spanned period 312 - 64
- The authoritative body of Jewish law and tradition
incorporating the Hebrew Mishnah and the Aramaic Gemara and
supplementing the scriptural law; developed in the fourth and fifth
- Ancient Greek silver coins. The Library of Congress
exhibition includes coins minted in Tyre about 136 - 126 B.C.E.
- The four Hebrew letters that represent the divine
name of God, usually transliterated YHWH or JHVH; out of reverence,
Jews ceased to pronounce the word aloud about the third century
- The group within the Judean Desert sect who chose to live
communally. The sect divided humanity between the righteous and
the wicked and asserted that human nature and everything that
happens in the world are irrevocably predestined.