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First Discovered Copies of the Damascus Document
In December 1896, Solomon Schechter, a reader in [Talmud]at the University of Cambridge, was sent to retrieve the remaining manuscripts in the [Geniza]of the one thousand year old Ben Ezra Synagogue in the Cairo suburb of Fostat.The Jewish community associated with this synagogue were [Karaite] Jews. It is believed that they were a revival of the [Sadducees]who were in existance up to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. These Karaites appeared to have had a relationship with the beliefs of the Essene sect, responsible for the writing and hiding the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.
At this Geniza, Schechter made an important and remarkable discovery during his difficult three month period spent there. This was the finding of two manuscript copies written in the 10th and 12th centuries, which he later called a "Zadokite Work." Schechter correctly identified these documents as having been written by a group of breakaway Jews who saw themselves as the "True Israel". The members of this community appeared to have been led by priests decended from Tzadok, the High Priest of Kings David and Solomon,and hence were known as the "Sons of Tzadok." They were later recognised to be the Essenes. Schechter could never have realised that these manuscripts were the first discovered copies of a Dead Sea Scroll which later famously became known as the "Damascus Document".
References:Stefan Rief, Taylor-Schechter Unit Cambridge University, 'The Damascus Document from the Cairo Geniza: Its Discovery, Early Study and Historical Significance.'
The Ben Ezra Synagogue was Rabbanite, of the defunct Erets Israeli, or Jerusalem rite (as opposed to the Bavli, or Babylonian rite; Reif explains this quite well). The Karaite Synagogue Genizah is most closely associated with Abraham Firkovich. The Damascus Document was discovered by Solomon Schechter and is housed at the Cambridge University Library with the classmark T-S 10K6. It is also known as "Zadokite Fragment "A"" and "Covenant of Damascus from Cairo." Jerchower 20:08, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure if the newer version of this article (which was extensively rewirtten by user bigsam) is better than the original. Seethis oder version for a comparison.--Narayan (talk) 16:53, 3 July 2011 (UTC)