“And we have heard from our teachers that the heretic Anan and his friends used to write down heresies and lies and hide them in the ground.
Then they would take them out and say: This is what we found in ancient books.” – Rabbi Moses Taku*
To much fanfare, Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced this week that they have made the Dead Sea Scrolls accessible online. The Dead Sea Scrolls have some implications for research into the origins and theology of Karaite Judaism. The first modern discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls occurred in late 1940s; but, by all appearances, some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the ninth century. [Editor’s Note 12:49 p.m. (pacific): See the first comment below for a reference to an even earlier discovery.]
What is interesting, from a Karaite perspective, is the clear connection between some of the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and some of the writings of medieval Karaites. This similarity is what prompted Rabbi Moses Taku, a thirteenth century rabbi, to relate a Rabbinic view that Karaites of the eighth century wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and buried them for the sole purpose of later supporting the antiquity of the Karaite movement. (Of course, history has proven this view to be nonsense.)