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The Dead Sea Scrolls

Nick

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#1
I had a friend recently mention The Dead Sea Scrolls but I didn't know what they are. Cany anywone please tell me what they are, and do you think they are Biblical or what is their relevence etc?

I'm a bit :confused
 
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#2
The Dead Sea scrolls consist of about 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Qumran Wadi near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.

The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 BCE and preserve evidence of late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus. These manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE to 70 CE. The scrolls are most commonly identified with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, but recent scholarship has challenged their association with the scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are traditionally divided into three groups: "Biblical" manuscripts (copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible), which comprise roughly 40% of the identified scrolls; "Apocryphal" or "Pseudepigraphical" manuscripts (known documents from the Second Temple Period like Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, Sirach, non-canonical psalms, etc., that were not ultimately canonized in the Hebrew Bible), which comprise roughly 30% of the identified scrolls; and "Sectarian" manuscripts (previously unknown documents that speak to the rules and beliefs of a particular group or groups within greater Judaism) like the Community Rule, War Scroll, Pesher (Hebrew pesher ??? = "Commentary") on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the Blessing, which comprise roughly 30% of the identified scrolls.

Prior to 1968, most of the known scrolls and fragments were housed in the Rockefeller Museum (formerly known as the Palestine Archaeological Museum) in Jerusalem. After the Six Day War, these scrolls and fragments were moved to the Shrine of the Book, at the Israel Museum.

Publication of the scrolls has taken many decades, and the delay has been a source of academic controversy. As of 2007 two volumes remain to be completed, with the whole series, Discoveries in the Judean Desert, running to thirty-nine volumes in total. Many of the scrolls are now housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, while others are housed in the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, Princeton Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, and in the hands of private collectors. According to The Oxford Companion to Archeology, "The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. About 35% of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament and 10% to the Greek and Samaritan traditions, with the remainder exhibiting sometimes dramatic differences in both language and content. In their range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around 100 AD."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_scrolls
 

Nick

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#3
Thanks researcher. I'm still a bit confused though - are the scrolls incorporated into the Bible? Or do they just contain things that are already in the Bible? What is the Hebrew Bible? (I'm thinking that's the Old Testement / Torah?)
 
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#4
Nick_29 said:
Thanks researcher. I'm still a bit confused though - are the scrolls incorporated into the Bible? Or do they just contain things that are already in the Bible? What is the Hebrew Bible? (I'm thinking that's the Old Testement / Torah?)
Hi Nick. I believe the scrolls were found (1900's?) a long time after the Canon we have now was accepted/formed.
I believe they use some of the scrolls to compare them to our current Bible. I think to some researchers they are important to see what was going on in life (and religion) back then. As for the Hebrew Bible, yeah, I think that is the OT.
 

Nick

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#5
researcher said:
Nick_29 said:
Thanks researcher. I'm still a bit confused though - are the scrolls incorporated into the Bible? Or do they just contain things that are already in the Bible? What is the Hebrew Bible? (I'm thinking that's the Old Testement / Torah?)
Hi Nick. I believe the scrolls were found (1900's?) a long time after the Canon we have now was accepted/formed.
I believe they use some of the scrolls to compare them to our current Bible. I think to some researchers they are important to see what was going on in life (and religion) back then. As for the Hebrew Bible, yeah, I think that is the OT.
Yeah, I thought so too.

Thanks so much for the clarifycation! :)
 

Nick

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#7
researcher said:
Thanks so much for the clarifycation!
:nod No problemo! ;) ;) ;)
Hey...just a mega random thought - that "nod" emoticon --->>>>> :nod - it has always reminded me of something like this:



Just a purely random thought! :biglol
 

wavy

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#8
researcher said:
Nick_29 said:
Thanks researcher. I'm still a bit confused though - are the scrolls incorporated into the Bible? Or do they just contain things that are already in the Bible? What is the Hebrew Bible? (I'm thinking that's the Old Testement / Torah?)
Hi Nick. I believe the scrolls were found (1900's?) a long time after the Canon we have now was accepted/formed.
I believe they use some of the scrolls to compare them to our current Bible. I think to some researchers they are important to see what was going on in life (and religion) back then. As for the Hebrew Bible, yeah, I think that is the OT.
Actually, the literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls include a number of sectarian writings, pseudepigrapha, and the earliest manuscripts of every book in the Hebrew bible (which is indeed the 'Old Testament') in existence excepting Esther. Because they contain the oldest textual witnesses to the Hebrew bible, they are important for reconstructing its original text.

If you're interested further, pick up Davies, Philip R., Brooke, George J., Callaway, Philip R. [2002] The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls, London: Thames & Hudson


Finis,
Eric
 
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#9
Oooh! Good topic. Mind if I move this to the Biblical History & Archaeology (BH&A) subforum Nick? It would fit very nicely there, and I can leave a shadow copy here. Practically this means your thread will never sink below page 1 (in the BH&A subforum). :biggrin

~Josh
 
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#10
Yes, interesting topic, and I have just finished reading a book that mentioned the dead sea scrolls.
I also saw a program on TV a few months ago showing where the scrolls were found, cleaned, and where they are being kept.
In cave 1 the whole book of Isaiah was found and as we know, Isaiah prophesised of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.. ;)

extract..
The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: ??? ??????) is a book of the Bible traditionally attributed to the Prophet Isaiah, who lived in the second half of the 8th century BC.[1] In the first 39 chapters, Isaiah prophesies doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God. The last 27 chapters prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel. This section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages that Christians believe prefigure the coming of Jesus Christ, and which are otherwise traditionally thought to refer to the nation of Israel. This second of the book's two major sections also includes prophecies of a new creation in God's glorious future kingdom.
 
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#11
The Dead Sea Scrolls are of great significance verifying the accuracy of transmission in the OT. The entire book of Isaiah is in the DSS and only differs in 17 letters from the Leningrad Codex (dated around 1000 AD, which is about 1100-1200 yrs after the DSS were written!) The copyist accuracy is incredible! Familiarizing yourself w/ some of the details of the DSS is a great apologetic for defending the accuracy and reliability of Scripture.
 

Nick

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#12
I'm in a hurry right now, so will read replies later, but thanks all for the replies.

Feel free to move it Josh. :)
 

wavy

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#13
toddm said:
The Dead Sea Scrolls are of great significance verifying the accuracy of transmission in the OT. The entire book of Isaiah is in the DSS and only differs in 17 letters from the Leningrad Codex (dated around 1000 AD, which is about 1100-1200 yrs after the DSS were written!) The copyist accuracy is incredible! Familiarizing yourself w/ some of the details of the DSS is a great apologetic for defending the accuracy and reliability of Scripture.

This is true, but during this era the state of the text was becoming fixed. The manuscript evidence from all of our textual witnesses, including the DSS, the LXX and the Samaritan Pentateuch, do not support any reliably fixed form of the biblical text during pre-Christian times: a period of relatively free expansion, rearrangement, and excisions from the biblical text. There are many, many examples I could supply.

But on this matter, I would suggest Tov, Emanuel [2001] Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 2nd Edition, Fortress Press, especially pp. 114-17, 188-9.


Finis,
Eric
 
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#14
Hello again Nick,

I was going to recommend to you a translation of the Old Testament writings among the Dead Sea Scrolls that I have which you might like to read. Most translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls also include the non-scripture writings including commentarys and sectarian writings (which can be quite interesting) but the book I have extracts just the Scripture parts, although it also has the Apocrypha which Catholics have in their Bible (and which even the 1611 KJV originally had before it was removed). Anyway, the book is called The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English by Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich. The book is very accessible and only cost me $20 at Books-a-Million. You will immediately notice the fragmentary nature of the scrolls in that there will be gaps in the text (denoted with brackets) and sometimes even entire chapters missing (due to corroding and disintegration of the scrolls).

I've had rotten luck in using it as a resource about the last 10 times I wanted to try to verify a reading in the OT which was controversial and I go to this book to look through it to see what the DSS say, and lo and behold... it is one of the parts that is missing. Great! :lol Oh well.

Anyway, I think you might like it.

God Bless,

~Josh
 
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#15
Oh, and I was going to say: I saw two fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in person last month! They are here in Alabama right now as part of the traveling Blood & Ink exhibit showing the history of the Bible from the original languages through Medieval times to the first translations into English (I also saw Luther & Tyndale's first translations, printed in their life time or shortly thereafter). Anyway click here to see the fragments. These particular fragments were so old that they were crusted (I would almost describe it as "charred") black and the ink was only visible via infrared radiation to reveal the writing under the surface. Pretty cool stuff!

~Josh
 

Nick

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#16
WOW! Thanks so much Josh! I'll look into getting that book you recommended.

This is turning out to be really interesting.
 
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#18
wavy said:
You're welcome... :bigfrown


Finis,
Eric
Do I sense Zeus' displeasure with Prometheus? i.e. Did I steal your thunder?

P.S. Yes, I know Prometheus didn't steal "thunder"... but I had to try...

~Josh
 

wavy

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#19
cybershark5886 said:
Do I sense Zeus' displeasure with Prometheus? i.e. Did I steal your thunder?

P.S. Yes, I know Prometheus didn't steal "thunder"... but I had to try...

~Josh
LOL, I guess so.


Finis,
Eric
 

Nick

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#20
wavy said:
You're welcome... :bigfrown


Finis,
Eric
as I said before in a more general term, thanks all for the contributions. (that includes you Eric :lol).