The Isaiah Scroll, designated 1Qlsa and also known as the Great Isaiah Scroll, was found in a cave near the Dead Sea (Qumran Cave 1) with six other scrolls by Bedouin shepherds in 1947, later known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scroll is written in Hebrew and contains the entire Book of Isaiah from beginning to end, apart from a few small damaged portions. It is the oldest complete copy of the Book of Isaiah known, being 1100 years older than the Leningrad Codex, and the most complete scroll out of the 220 found at Qumran. Pieces of the Isaiah Scroll have been carbon-14 dated at least four times, giving calibrated date ranges between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC; there have also been numerous paleographic and scribal dating studies placing the scroll around 150-100 BC.
The scroll was sold by Bedouins to an antiques dealer who happened to be a member of the Syrian Church. He sold it to Anastasius Samuel, the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem. Mar Samuel brought the scroll to the U.S., hoping to sell it and the three others he had in his possession. They were bought by Israeli archeologist Yigael Yadin for $250,000 in 1954 and brought back to Israel. The scroll, along with over 200 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, is now housed in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.
This copy of Isaiah contains many minor differences from the later Masoretic text (the text which forms the basis of the modern Hebrew bible). Most of the differences are simply grammatical (for example, spelling certain words with an extra letter that does not alter the pronunciation).
- Kutscher, E.Y. The Language and Linguistic Background of the Isaiah Scroll (I Q Isaa), Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 6. (Leiden: Brill, 1974).
- The Great Isaiah Scroll - View the entire scroll.