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Listen to an excerpt from The Book of Genesis Chapter 12. And there was a famine in the land and a broom went down into Egypt to sojourn there for the famine was sore in the land and it came to pass when he was come near to enter into Egypt. Then he said unto Sara his wife behold no I know that all art of fair woman to look upon. And it will come to pass when the Egyptians shall see that they will say this is his wife and they will kill me. But see they will keep alive. Say I praise art my sister that it may be well with me for thy sake and that my soul may live because of the. Now listen to an excerpt from the Dead Sea Scroll describing the exceptional beauty of Sara. And how beautiful the look of her face and how fine it is the hair of her
head how fairy indeed are her eyes and how pleasing her no use and how magnificent is the radiance of her face. Oh beautiful her breast and how lovely all her whiteness. And above all women. Is she lovely. And higher is her beauty is inside of the wall. And with all her beauty. There is not so with. That description of Sarah as part of an ancient Hebrew writing done on a sheepskin parchment rolled into a scroll sealed in a jar. And about the time of Christ placed in a cave Liber looking the Dead Sea near Jerusalem. We don't know who put it there. But it's thought that one day in 68 A.D. as the Roman legions were pillaging their way to Jerusalem this scroll was hidden in a cave which gave it refuge for almost two thousand years. In one thousand forty seven. This crumbling sheepskin scroll was
fun. This another scrolls all found recently comprised twentieth century scholarships most momentous discovery. And Sarah was exceedingly fair program six of schools from the Dead Sea. A radio exploration of the most significant archaeological find of the 20th century. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls as told by the scholars and archaeologists who have been studying the implications of their discoveries. It includes recordings made in Jerusalem in England France Italy and America. The
writer and planner of the series is Dr. Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. The series is based on his findings during his recent tour of Europe and Israel. Professor Mansoor in our last talk on the fascinating but mysterious Copper Scroll found in the caves of the day and desert not far from the date sea it was found in 1952. Today we're going to discuss one of the seven or original scrolls found in 1947 in a cave usually called Cave 1. This seventh scroll of the last to be deciphered has been found to be essentially an apocryphal collection of stories written in Aramaic a language spoken in Palestine at the time of the rise of Christianity it is a language related to Heathrow. There are several Aramaic words preserved in the New Testament writings
new and fascinating stories around the lives of law make committee know are and are included in this ancient document. These stories and large on the accounts of these personalities as given in the Bible. Unfortunately this document is the most fragile and was the most difficult to unroll something like half its pages are lost. The scroll had wandered for seven years through the United States with the Syrian archbishop of the Old City of Jerusalem. No one in this country was prepared to pay the price asked for it. Some of you may have heard our first broadcast in which we stated that the Hebrew University acquired this scroll in New York in 1955 together with three others from the Syrian archbishop for two hundred fifty thousand dollars. Dr. regalia who was
instrumental in the purchase has already begun to decipher it. Doctor he is an archaeologist and former chief of staff of the Israeli army. I talked with doctors in his office at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. When we bought the scrolls doing years ago in America we shipped him to Israel. Naturally the first and most important job was to unroll this scroll. It was in a very in the beginning it was a very very I would say we looked at it as a hopeless job. All the outer side of this crawl and most of the parts were really so badly preserved that we didn't hope to find anything more complete in the scroll. But luckily and for the few pages of the scrolls suddenly emerged very well-preserved to our great delight
in surprise after that work was done on the other parts although they were very badly mutilated in many cases most of the lines disappeared and so on. Nevertheless with the help of infrared photography we managed to read enough lines of each page to give us the idea of the context of the scroll itself. What loving patients. Doctor Doctor I've got his colleague and other university scientists and scholars succeeded in preserving this scroll. After months of exposure to controlled humidity you see the centuries had compressed the leather scroll into a brittle glued together bundle after it was rendered flexible. Dr. Dean told me the scroll was folded in two pages all together in the scroll. As it is now there are about 22. There were about 22 pages
the beginning is missing completely and also the end of it. In other words when we came to the last page of the scroll we could see that already in and continue the continuous part of that was detached from the scroll for some reason which we don't know. This we could ascertain from the context of the page and from the from the signs of the sort of sewing the page to another page which followed afterwards of the scrolls 22 original pages 4 complete pages each with thirty four lines of writing were preserved. These were published early in 1957. In addition to these spacious scholars had further study large sections of decipherable writing on five pages and several legible lines and words on additional pages. The rest alas cannot be recovered. Not even with infrared photography. Nevertheless this Crawl is a
credit to the Hebrew University. Most scholars had almost despaired at recovering any of the scroll as a readable document because of its condition which was so bad that by merely touching it parts crumbled away when the scroll was first taken to the United States. Scholars examined a small piece of it which contained the name of Limerick and his wife. But in Norse It was thus thought that it was the apocryphal book of Limerick. When however doctor the doctor of a god deciphered some of the other pages it was found that the story concerning Lemonick and his son Noah occupied only a small part and that the scroll went on to deal with other stories in Genesis. The last few pages which form the main portions of the book concerns the story of Abraham and his wanderings. The actual stories in the Bible are supplemented with new accounts in the manner of the apocryphal Book of
Jubilees. A striking similarity was discovered between the scroll and the Book of Jubilees. It was so similar in many stories that it was possible that the scroll might have served as one of the sources for the Book of Jubilees a reference to this scroll would also explain some difficult passages in the Book of Jubilees. This Genesis scroll is the only one of the seven orignal scrolls that was written in Aramaic and this is its paramount importance up to now. Scholars have had no contemporary Aramaic document of the first or second century B.C. or the first century A.D. since many scholars believed that some portions of the New Testament might have been written in Aramaic. The discovery of this Aramaic scroll would be of great importance to them also. Biblical
scholars in Israel were even more fascinated by another portion of the scroll which provides clues to the geography of the holy land of more than 2000 years ago. Dr. Dean told me during an interview in Jerusalem that after having worked several months on the scroll he was convinced without almost a shadow of a doubt that this scroll is authentic and that it was composed early part in the 2nd century B.C. the writing on the parchment is similar to that of the battle of the children of light against the children of darkness. Their work is described by him as a paraphrase and commentary on the Biblical book of Genesis. It was therefore decided to call this scroll of Genesis Apocrypha. This consists of a collection of stories written in the first person about some biblical notables. There is also a fascinating description of Sarah's beauty to the
layman. This document looks like a collection of colorful accounts of stories about the book of Genesis. There is first the story of Limerick about the odd birth of his son Noah. According to legends long known to biblical scholars before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls Noah a prodigy could speak when he was born. And strange lights illuminated his birthplace. Moreover his body was quote white as snow and red as the blooming of the rose. His hair was white as wool and when he opened his eyes they lighted the house like the sun. These phenomena were said to have disturbed Lemonick apparently with good reason. At this point the scroll gives us some fascinating practical arse greatly disturbed by the fact that Noah might be of divine or semi-divine paternity. Let Mick who tells the story in the first person expresses his suspicions that no is in reality the son of angels called the watchers
of the sons of heaven. Let me finally confronts his wife. But he speaks to her of his suspicions in no uncertain terms making her swear by the Most High Lord of greatness and King of the worlds that she will tell him the whole truth and nothing but the truth without lies about the child's father. I wish to say in passing that limits concern as related in this scroll is paralleled in a more complete description contained in one of the apocryphal books known as The Book of Enoch by the way we learn from the scrolls that but in origin is at the same time also his sister. The custom of marrying one sister was practiced in ancient times because of a shortage of women. Anyhow it appears from the scrolls that his wife but did not accept these accusations without challenge. She replied to her husband with great vigor insisting that she spoke in truth and reminding her
husband of their tender moments together. Finally she in turn vows to him by the great holy one that Noah was indeed his son. This helps relieve his suspicions but he's still somehow skeptical. My heart then had greatly changed within me lambe excess and he recounts the child's marvels to his father Methuselah who is recorded in Genesis as living 969 years. He recounts that Noah rose in the hands of his midwife when born conversed with the Lord of righteousness and the strange lights illuminated his birthplace. Methuselah agreed that Illuminations at birth and talking by the newborn were unusual occurrences. But he could offer neither explanation nor comfort. Let me call ever Big Smith who is allowed to go for help to his father Enoch whose dwelling place quote is presumed to be among the angels and to learn the truth from him. Methuselah
succeeds in finding the old man who had disappeared at the age of three hundred sixty five and of whom the Bible says and Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him. He addresses him as Father and Lord and begins to tell him of his fears and suspicions. But unfortunately the bottom of this particular page of the scroll has been destroyed in the course of its long history and the rest of the narrative is lost. To be continued if and when another copy of this scroll is found one day. But although we do not know what the All-Knowing had to say to Methuselah about the fate of Noah there is a happy ending to this episode for the story of lamb excess patience regarding Norse paternity is taken up on other pages of the scrolls and we do know that finally led Mick is convinced that the child born by his beloved wife is indeed
his very own son. Again important topographical details are provided in a description of Abraham's wanderings through the country in the book of Genesis Chapter 13. God commands Abraham to walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it. But there is no mention there of his having done so our scroll refers to this in detail and in its account ever makes his way from the Nile up to the Persian Gulf. Let's hope that this new documentary evidence will not create political repercussion in the much troubled Near East. Now this scroll has another story with a happy ending. This is the story of the triangle of Abraham and the king of Egypt at the beginning of today's talk you have heard for instance the biblical account relating to every journey to Egypt when Abraham went down to
Egypt. Sarah who pretended to be everyone's sister was taken to King Pharao who desired her on account of her beauty. Now the scroll repeats the essence of this account with many additional details. Genesis tells us that I was exceedingly beautiful. The scroll elaborates a great deal on this passage and Sarah's beauty is described in numerous details. I asked Doctor if he thought King Solomon was supposed to have portrayed the beauty of form and the Song of Songs. What suffer from an inferiority complex. After reading the description of SARA This was his reply. If anyone is going to suffer it's not going solo by the women of his period. But I don't believe that either of them are going to suffer. In fact what we have here is their bible. So I was really beautiful
take the liberty to describe to us the true beauty of sorrow in the words of Abraham. Or in fact in the words of one of the ministers of the Pharaoh. It's a very decent description and a very simple one and it is important in giving us at least what was the ideal of beauty in the end of the Second Temple or at least what at least what was the ideal beauty of the author of the scroll. Now let's hear an excerpt from the text on Sarah's beauty as contained in the Genesis Apocrypha of the date's Sea Scrolls and how beautiful the look of her face and how fine is the hair of her head. How fair indeed. And her eyes and how pleasing her nose and all the radiance of her face how beautiful her breast and how lovely all her whiteness her arms goodly to look upon and her hands how perfect all the appearance of her hands how fair her
palms and how long and fine all the fingers of her hands her legs are beautiful and without blemish her thighs. And all maidens and all brides that go beneath the wedding canopy are not more fairer than she and above all women. She is lovely and higher in her beauty than that of the more. And with all her beauty there is much wisdom in her now as the beautiful. I arrived in Egypt with her husband. So the story goes. She was seen by the princes of that country and reports of her loveliness reach the king Pharaoh and so on. Here I think I must stop my own comments. Let us hear the actual words of the scroll in English translation. There Countess so moving and enthralling that you should hear it in full as related by ever in the first person.
And when the king heard the words of Torkel house is chief officer. And the words of his two companions for all three spoke as one man. He desired her exceedingly and he sent at once to bring her to him and he looked upon her and marvelled at all her loveliness and took her to him to wife and sought to slay me and Service spoke to the king saying he is my brother. That it might be well with me that I might profit thereby. And I was saved because of her and was not slain. And I wept. I broke with grievous weeping. I end with me locked my brother's son wept that night when Sarah was taken from me by force. That night I prayed and entreated and begged and said in sorrow as my tears fell. Blessed are the most high God Lord of all worlds because though our lord and master of all and ruler of all the kings of Earth. All of
whom thou judge just. Behold now I cry before thee my lord against Pharaoh hts on King of Egypt because my wife has been taken from me by force. Do thou judge him for me and let me behold die mighty hand descend upon him and all his household and may he not this night defiled my wife. And men shall know my lord that are the lord of all the kings of Earth. And I went and grieved that night the Most High God sent a pestilential wind to afflict him and all his household. When that was evil and it smote him and all his house and he could not come near her nor did he know her. And he was with her two year and at the end of two years the plagues and the afflictions became grievous and strong in him and in all his house. And he sent and called for all the wise men of Egypt
and all the wizards and all the physicians of Egypt. If perchance they might heal him from that the limbs him and his house and all the physicians and wizards and wise men could not rise up to heal him for the wind smote them all and they fled. And then hearken to us pharaohs officer came to me and be sought me to come and pray for the king and to lay my hands upon him that he might live. And Lot said unto him Abraham My uncle cannot pray for the King while Sara his wife is with him. And when Harkness heard these words of lot he went and said to the king all these plagues and afflictions with which my lord the king is plagued and afflicted are because of SARA The wife of Abraham. Restore her Sarah to Abraham her husband and the plague will depart from thee and the evil will pass away. And he called me to him and said to me what hast thou done
unto me for the sake of Sarah that DAR has told me she was deiced sister and she is indeed Di wife and I took her to me to wife. Behold here is that I wife who is with me. Go thy way and depart from all the land of Egypt. And now pray for me and all my house that these evil wind may depart from us. And I prayed for the king swiftly and I laid my hand upon his head and the plague departed from him and the evil wind was gone and he lives. And I Abraham went forth exceedingly rich in cattle and also in silver and in gold. And I went up out of Egypt and Lot the son of my brother with me and Lot also had great possessions and took unto himself a wife. In contrast the Old Testament version Genesis Chapter 12 covers the story with much less detail.
Before we finish with this fascinating scroll I would like to point out that a large number of homilies traditions legends and other folklorists material had been circulating among the Jewish people for over 2000 years. These are scattered in the gigantic post biblical Jewish work known as the Talmud but especially in the Midrash or the whole Milica interpretation of the scripture. You see from the time when the institution of the synagogue was first created. Rabbis have delivered sermons in the synagogues especially in connection with divine services on Sabbath and holidays. File of for instance a Jewish scholar of the first century A.D. describes one of these services remarking that some priest or leader read several verses from the printed yoke to his congregation in the synagogue and expounded them point by point. To do that he often made use of parables
legends traditions or words of wisdom. Most of these rabbinic interpretations were based on Scriptural passages usually drawn from the Penta joke. These interpretations were first transmitted orally from one generation to another and circulated in academic rabbinic schools at a later date from about the 5th century A.D.. This vast material was committed to writing. And these have been preserved for us. The most important works on this material are known by its Hebrew name midrash or by its plural form midrash. There is no doubt that there were also several traditions and legends about Norse birth and Sarah's beauty and the Genesis Apocrypha which we discussed today is probably one of these works. It is interesting to tell you here that there are most fascinating legends about this
battery acts in the English translation of the midrash in a book entitled The Legends of the Jews edited by the great scholar Louis Ginsberg. Listen to another delightful account of Abram's journey to Egypt and his device to protect his beautiful wife. Also based on the biblical passage on his journey from Canaan to Egypt Abraham first observed the beauty of Sara traced as he was he had never before looked at her. But now when they were wading through a stream he saw the reflection of her beauty in the water like the brilliance of the sun. Wherefore he spoke to her thus the Egyptians are very sensual and I will put the in a casket that no harm befall me on account of the at the Egyptian boundary the tax collectors asked him about the contents of the casket and Abraham told them he had barley in it or they said it contains wheat. Very well replied Abraham I am prepared to pay the tax on wheat. The officers then hazarded a guess it contains pepper Abraham
agreed to pay the tax on Pepper. And when they charged him with concealing gold in the casket he did not refuse to pay the tax on gold. And finally on precious stones seeing that he was willing to pay any amount however high the tax collectors becoming thoroughly suspicious insisted upon his own fastening the casket and letting them examine the contents. When it was forced open the whole of Egypt was overwhelmed with the beauty of Sarah. In comparison with her all other beauties were like apes compared with man she excelled Eve herself. The servants of Pharaoh outbid one another in seeking to obtain possession of her though they were of opinion that so radiant a beauty ought not to remain the property of a private individual. They reported the matter to the king and Pharaoh sent a powerful armed force to bring Vera to the palace and so be which was he by her charms that those who had brought him the news of her coming into Egypt were loaded down with bountiful gifts. The end of this story from the midrash is similar to that given in the Bible and in
the Genesis apocrypha on. This also brings us to the end of this talk on the patriarchs. Their life love and law are in our next Talk. We shall discuss the war scroll and the sounds of Thanksgivings and refer to some books written on the dates scrolls. Scrolls from the Dead Sea program six a radio exploration of the most significant archaeological find of the century. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. Professor Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin is the writer planner and narrator for the series the reader is Carl Schmitt production and editing by Carl Schmitt and Claire Prothero original theme music by Don vaguely. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is
Scrolls from the Dead Sea
Sarah was exceedingly fair
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Relevant excerpts from post-Biblical rabbinical literature and a particular focus on a scroll that details the beauty of Sarah.
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The story of the Dead Sea Scrolls, featuring interviews with 30 leading scholars, scientists, archeologists and theologians.
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Sarah (Biblical matriarch)
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Speaker: Schmidt, Karl
Speaker: Stribling, Don
Speaker: Yadin, Yigael, 1917-1984
Writer: Mansoor, Menahem
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-21-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:09
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Chicago: “Scrolls from the Dead Sea; Sarah was exceedingly fair,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 24, 2021,
MLA: “Scrolls from the Dead Sea; Sarah was exceedingly fair.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 24, 2021. <>.
APA: Scrolls from the Dead Sea; Sarah was exceedingly fair. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from