dead sea scrolls


#1

Are the Dead Sea Scrolls the original new testament letters? If not, what are they and why are they significant?


#2

Bullet points on the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS)

– the DSS is the generic title for six groups of documents discovered between 1947 and 1956 in caves and sites of the Judean Desert near the western side of the Dead Sea; the most important group was found in eleven caves near the Wadi Qumran often called the “Qumran Scrolls” (QS);

– from these eleven caves came scrolls and fragments, dating from the end of the third century B.C. to A.D. 68, mostly in Hebrew, many in Aramaic, a few in Greek; four stages are recognized: Archaic (250-150 BC), Hasmonean (150-30 BC), Herodian (30 BC - 70 AD), Post-Herodian / Ornamental (after 70 AD);

– in 1991 (Zurich, Switzerland) and 1995 (Tucson, Arizona) the palaeographical dates were confirmed by radiocarbon dating methods;

– in total the DSS number today about 820 texts divided into three classes: biblical, sectarian, and inter-testamental Jewish writings;

– of the 820 QS, about 25% are copies of OT books; in Cave 4 alone 127 biblical texts are represented including every proto-canonical book except Esther; all 66 chapters of Isaiah were preserved in Cave 1 (1QIsa) dated to 125-100 BC; this Qumran Isaiah text is 1000 years older than the previously known oldest copy (895 AD) yet testifies in general to the care with which Jewish scribes copied this book throughout the centuries;

– the “inter-testamental” writings include Jubilees, 1 Enoch, forerunners of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other literary, liturgical, and sapiential texts previously unknown, especially Aramaic writings which Qumran Jews read but probably did not compose;

– in the DSS there is no mention of John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, his apostles or disciples, or anything Christian;

SOURCE: New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003, 2nd edition) article “Dead Sea Scrolls” (volume 4, page 560ff)

From my Da Vinci Code critics article…

Phil P


#3

One of my teachers claims that the Church initialy tried to surpress the DSS. Would anyone know why, or if this is even true?

– in the DSS there is no mention of John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, his apostles or disciples, or anything Christian;

How odd :confused:


#4

From Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_sea_scrolls

Christian connections
Spanish Jesuit José O’Callaghan has argued that one fragment (7Q5) is a New Testament text from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6, verses 52–53. In recent years this controversial assertion has been taken up again by German scholar Carsten Peter Thiede. A successful identification of this fragment as a passage from Mark would make it the earliest extant New Testament document, dating somewhere between AD 30 and 60. Opponents consider that the fragment is tiny and requires so much reconstruction (the only complete word in Greek is “και” = “and”) that it could have come from a text other than Mark.
Robert Eisenman advanced the theory that some scrolls actually describe the early Christian community, characterized as more fundamentalist and rigid than the one portrayed by the New Testament. Eisenman also attempted to relate the career of James the Just and Paul of Tarsus to some of these documents.


#5

That sounds very absurd because the dead sea scrolls were written several hundred years before Christ and they’ve been published in their entirey. If you are a researcher I know you can get copies of the originals and if you travel to where they are kept you can examine the originals.

If he comes up with garbage like this I’d ask him to show his source.


#6

From Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_sea_scrolls

Vatican conspiracy theory
Allegations that the Vatican suppressed the publication of the scrolls were published in the 1990s. Notably, Michael Baigent’s and Richard Leigh’s book The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception claim that several key scrolls were deliberately kept under wraps for decades to suppress unwelcome theories about the early history of Christianity; in particular, Eisenman’s speculation that the life of Jesus was deliberately mythicized by Paul, possibly a Roman agent who faked his “conversion” from Saul in order to undermine the influence of anti-Roman messianic cults in the region.
However, the complete publication and dissemination of translations and photographic records of the works in the late 1990s and early 2000s effectively undermined these ideas, since the ‘new’ Scroll material did not include anything which connected the Scrolls to early Christianity and certainly did not contain anything about the Catholic Church or anything the church would want to ‘suppress’. As a result, most scholars discredit this conspiracy theory.


#7

From Wikipedia: (I guess I rely on it too much. :slight_smile: )
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_sea_scrolls

Date and contents
According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. (Some scrolls do cover the life time of JC.)


#8

I guess I rely on memory too much.

Well if wikipedia is gospel:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_sea_scrolls


#9

Maran << Christian connections: Spanish Jesuit José O’Callaghan has argued that one fragment (7Q5) is a New Testament text from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6, verses 52–53. In recent years this controversial assertion has been taken up again by German scholar Carsten Peter Thiede. >>

Yeah, the article in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd edition 2003) written by John Fitzmyer (if memory serves) does mention this as a controversial identification with passages of the NT. Most of the DSS are dated before the time of Christ so they can hardly be faulted for not mentioning Christian things or people. Some of the DSS are dated at the time of Christ or slightly thereafter.

Here are some critical editions of the DSS

I like Wikipedia, especially the creation-evolution articles I helped edit. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.