Just when you thought it was safe to say that only 11 caves at Qumran had scrolls, now a 12th cave has been found with scroll material in it, as well as ancient flints and modern pick axes. The theory is that this cave was looted in the 40s with the thieves leaving their pick axes behind, perhaps. Before we get too excited, the initial report from Prof. Gutfeld is that the only fully intact scroll found in a jar is blank! There are some additional fragments however with writing on them that must be analyzed, so stay tuned.
The main value for Christian interpretation of the NT of any or all these scrolls is that we are dealing with a community of eschatologically oriented Jews, not unlike Jesus and his followers, who believe that the eschatological age has dawned and so the fulfillment of prophecies is in process. That is to say, in some respects, the way these two Jewish communities interpret the OT is in some respects similar, and the Qumran scrolls help us to figure out the meaning of key words and phrases and how they were interpreted in early Judaism. In some respects, the Qumran community reflects an ethos and an ethic far more like that of John the Baptizer, than that of Jesus. John it will be remembered did his ministry in the Judean wilderness and by the river Jordan, so he was in the same general region as the Qumran community, and interestingly Isaiah 40, “the voice of one crying, in the wilderness make straight a highway for our God'” is applied to John by the NT Evangelists, and the Qumranites applied the same text to themselves. This has led to speculation that John might have originally been part of that community, a speculation based not least on the fact that both John and the Qumranites were famous for their water rituals.
We will have to abide our souls in patience and see what the scholarly work produces on these newly found scrolls. Stay tuned.