The research project “Hebräisches und aramäisches Lexikon zu den Texten vom Toten Meer - Qumran-Lexikon” is one of the most important manuscript finds of the 20th century. Between 1947 and 1956 remains of about 1000 scrolls were discovered in caves near the ruined settlement of Chirbet Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea, mainly in Hebrew and Aramaic languages. The manuscripts date from the 3rd century BC to the second century CE. The volume and age of the find make the texts a unique source for exploring the history of antique Judaism and the Old Testament and give an insight into the origin of the New Testament.
It is the company's mission to create a philological encyclopaedia for the first time, covering the entire vocabulary of Qumran texts and other Dead Sea sites. Also included are the medieval copies of the Damascus script and Ben Siras found in Qumran. The text material is prepared etymologically, morphologically, and semantically as in classic dictionaries. The lexicon thus serves to open up the linguistic gap between the older biblical and the younger rabbinical Hebrew and Aramaic languages.
The project has set up a database that includes all source texts and readings as well as linguistic analyses of the individual words in their syntactic context. It is constantly updated and contains an extensive bibliography. The office has a special library with all editions of the Dead Sea texts, which is constantly being expanded.
A first volume of the dictionary was published in 2017 by de Gruyter (R. Kratz/ A. Steudel/ I. Kottsieper, Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary on Dead Sea texts. Including the Cairo Genizah manuscripts. Volume 1א-ב, Berlin/Boston 2017), the other volumes will follow at intervals of one to two years.