Dead Sea Scrolls don't include the Apocrypha?


Need some help. My Protestant sister is visiting me from out of state. She's doing a Protestant Bible Study & reading "Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible" by Erwin W. Lutzer.

Page 72 states that "These (Dead Sea) scrolls are some eight hundred to a thousand years older than other previously known manuscripts. Portions of every book of the Old Testament have been found except writings of the Apocrypha were found....."

She wants to know the Catholic position on this since I've always told her that the Catholic Church decided on the what the canon of scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.



I hope this helps,


Very informative video! Thank you! :)


Actually, we have two or three deuterocanonical books from the Judaean Desert: Tobit (sixty-nine fragments from five manuscripts found within Cave 4 in Qumran: four in Aramaic and one in Hebrew), Sirach (two copies preserving portions of just three chapters from Qumran, one representing six chapters from Masada; note also that the hymn in Sirach 51:13-30 is found within the Psalms Scroll from Qumran’s Cave 11), and the Epistle of Jeremiah (in a very small, badly-mutilated Greek fragment pictured below: pap7QEpJer gr).
An Aramaic fragment of Tobit: 4Q196 (pap4QTob ar[sup]a[/sup])

A Hebrew fragment of Tobit: 4Q200 (4QTob[sup]e[/sup])

I should note that four of the seven books are unlikely to be found in Qumran anyway. Take for example, 1 Maccabees and Judith, two works which may have been originally composed in Hebrew, but at any rate survives only in Greek. The Qumran sectarians are generally anti-Hasmonean (the dynasty that the Maccabees had founded): because these two works reflect pro-Hasmonean agenda (rather obviously in the case of 1 Maccabees!) that lessens their chances of being found there.

Note also that 2 Maccabees is an original Greek composition (it was the abridgement of a five-volume history by a Jason of Cyrene), and probably also the Wisdom of Solomon. (Baruch is rather unclear: many scholars believe that at least the first part was composed in Hebrew, while some argue that the whole book was originally totally in Hebrew.) So far, the only Greek texts found in Qumran (numbering between 24 and 27) were found in Caves 4 and 7. The Cave 4 texts are generally translations of Torah texts, while most of the texts of Cave 7 are too fragmentary to be identified, leading to all sorts of speculation. (The Letter of Jeremiah fragment above is found in Cave 7.)

What books were removed from the Bible and why?

Patrick457: please tell me your source so she can look it up. Is there a reliable secular source? Or is there an official "Dead Sea Scroll" website? Lol.


This book confirms Patrick457’s information. (The link is to the relevant pages)

The Dead Sea Scrolls Today,
By James C. VanderKam


Mostly I can only name books. :stuck_out_tongue:

Timothy H. Lim’s The Dead Sea Scrolls (part of Oxford Press’ A Very Short Introduction series) is a good introductory reading on the subject as a whole. It doesn’t, however, address the Deuteros. Geza Vermes’ The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and the True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls provides a little more in-depth information (and does address the Qumran Deuteros in a short section). James C. VanderKam’s The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance For Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity is the most comprehensive of the three, albeit at the same time also the bulkiest (480 pages, compared to Vermes’ 272 and Lim’s 152). As for Tobit, I’d recommend generally anything written by Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer (who did work on those fragments) on that book. :smiley: All in all Lim, Vermes, VanderKam and Fitzmyer are IMHO four of the few reliable authors on the subject of the DSS (considering that so much conspiracy theories and other trash have been written about the Scrolls, I’d generally advise that you take everything you read about them with a grain of salt.)

Yes, there are two ‘official’ DSS websites but they only provide information about the more famous/more well-preserved scrolls (which Tobit, Sirach and the Letter of Jeremiah certainly aren’t). The Center for Online Judaic Studies has a page on the DSS and does have a section on the ‘apocryphal’ books found in Qumran. Wikipedia has an infamous reputation, yes, but I think that its article on the DSS is also a good fallback.


Thank you everyone. This is perfect! :thumbsup:


Perhaps you could show her 2 Macabees from Patrick's link and explain that this book is why we believe in praying for the dead in Purgatory.


[quote="journey00, post:8, topic:311503"]
Thank you everyone. This is perfect! :thumbsup:


You're welcome. To be more specific, here's Chapter 8 from VanderKam's The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also a short section from Fr. Fitzmyer's The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls (pp. 50-51). There's also Craig A. Evan's Holman QuickSource Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls (pp. 280-282). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books also makes a mention of them in the introduction to the 'Apocrypha'. Also Peter W. Flint and Tae Hun Kim's The Bible at Qumran: Text, Shape, and Interpretation (pp. 89-93). Vermes' The Story of the Scrolls isn't available for preview, so I'll quote the relevant section here (pp. 109-112).

(c) The Apocrypha

Of the fifteen books of the Bible of Hellenistic Jewry which are additional to the Palestinian Hebrew canon, only two are presumed to have been originally composed in Greek (Wisdom of Solomon and 2 Maccabees), while the rest are translations into Greek from Hebrew or Aramaic. None of these were known in their Semitic original until the discovery of the Hebrew Ecclesiasticus in the Cairo Genizah in 1896. Even there, as has been noted in chapter 1 (p. 14), scholarly opinion was divided between those who held that the Hebrew was that of the author, Jesus ben Sira, a priest from Jerusalem who flourished at the beginning of the second century BCE, and those who thought it was a medieval retranslation into Hebrew from the Greek of the Septuagint. How did Qumran affect the complex of the Apocrypha?
Compared to the Scrolls’ impact on the study of the Bible, their influence on the Apocrypha has been more limited. The only two titles belonging to this class, yielded by Qumran in a Semitic form, are Ecclesiasticus and Tobit. The first of these is the Hebrew Ben Sira, of which in addition to small insignificant fragments from Qumran Cave 2 (2Q18), belonging to Ecclesiasticus chapter 6, the Psalms Scroll from Cave 11 has preserved eleven verses of a poem in Hebrew, starting with Ecclesiasticus 51:13. This manuscript, dated to the first half of the first century CE, and the incomplete scroll found at Masada, necessarily in existence before the fall of the fortress in 73/74 CE, both substantially identical with the Hebrew Ecclesiasticus of the Cairo Genizah, prove that the Genizah text is definitely not a medieval retranslation into Hebrew of the Greek Jesus Sirach. Moreover, the Cave 11 passage is demonstrably closer to the original than the corresponding section in the Genizah manuscript. The Qumran version of Ecclesiasticus 51 presents an alphabetical acrostic poem, that is one in which each line correctly begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, line 1 starting with alef or A, line 2 with bet or B, whereas in the Genizah manuscript the sequence of the opening letters has been jumbled.
The twenty-six leather fragments of the Masada Ecclesiasticus, dated by the editor, Yigael Yadin, to the early or mid-first century BCE, furnish badly damaged portions of chapters 1 to 7 and reasonably well-preserved columns corresponding to chapters 39 to 44 and thus allow a somewhat better grasp of the original work of Ben Sira than the medieval documents or even his grandson’s Greek translation, written half a century after the original composition, before the death of Ptolemy VII Euergetes in 116 BCE.
The Book of Tobit is the other apocryphal work for which Qumran has yielded important fresh information; but even at the level of the Greek translation Tobit’s text fluctuates. There is a long and short version of which the long, attested in the fourth century CE Codex Sinaiticus and in the Old Latin translation (third century), is considered the more authentic. The Qumran evidence, copied in the first century BCE or at the turn of the era, and attested by five fragmentary scrolls, is equally fluctuating. Four manuscripts are in Aramaic and one in Hebrew. The Aramaic appears to be the original. All of them represent a Semitic text from which the reasonably free longer Greek version was made. For instance, in Tobit 1:22 the Aramaic text reads: ‘He was the son of my brother, of my father’s house and of my family’ as against the Greek: ‘He was the son of my brother and of my kindred’. In Tobit 2:11 the Aramaic has ‘On the festival of Weeks’ and the Greek, ‘On the feast of Pentecost which is the sacred festival of the seven weeks’. Finally, compare the Aramaic Tobit 14:2, ‘He was fifty-eight years old when he lost his sight and afterwards he lived fifty-four years’ to the Greek ‘He was sixty-two years old when he was maimed in his eyes’ (Sinaiticus) or ‘He was fifty-eight years old when he lost his sight and after eight years he regained it’ (Codex Vaticanus).
Bearing in mind that the Apocrypha are treated as Scripture in the most ancient branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches), perhaps the most significant feature disclosed by the Qumran Scrolls in their regard is the fact that neither the Semitic texts nor the Greek translations display the same level of unification as do the canonical books of the Hebrew Bible.


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