Where are the oldest known pieces of genesis stored


Where are the oldest remnants of the old testament, specifically Genesis stored?
I have tried doing some looking but am over my head. There seem to be many. I am not sure what to ask so I will start out with the question very broad.


The earliest subtantial fragments of the Old Testament we have are the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran and other sites in the Judaean Desert (ca. 2nd century BC-1st century AD) and the Nash Papyrus (150-100 BC), which contains the text of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 + Deuteronomy 5:6-21). The earliest artifacts we have which contain a biblical text are two small silver scrolls from the Jerusalem area dating from the 7th century BC inscribed with portions of the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26).

The oldest known copy of Genesis (4QPaleoGen[sup]m[/sup], from Qumran) is really just a small fragment containing ten (or nine) complete words and eight (or nine) parts of words from Genesis 26:21-28. Written in paleo-Hebrew (the script used by the Israelites before they switched to the ‘square-script’ Hebrew letters used today), the fragment probably dates from the mid-2nd century BC.

The Nash Papyrus is currently in Cambridge, the silver scrolls from Ketef Hinnom are in the Israel Museum at Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea Scrolls are scattered across different institutions, such as the Shrine of the Book (part of the Israel Museum) and the Jordan Museum in Amman.


Here’s a list of manuscripts of Genesis:

Qumran, Caves 1-8

1QGen (1Q1): Genesis 1:18-21; 3:11-14; 22:13-15; 23:17-19; 24:22-24

2QGen (2Q1): Genesis 19:27-28; 36:6, 35-37

4QGen-Ex[sup]a[/sup] (4Q1): Genesis 8:20-21? 22:14; 27:38-39, 42-43; 34:17-21; 35:17-29; 36:1-13, 19-27; 37:5-6, 22-27; 39:11-23; 40:1; 45:23; 47:13-14; 48:2-4, 15-17, 18-22; 49:1-5 + Exodus
4QGen[sup]b[/sup] (4Q2): Genesis 1:1-28; 2:14-19; 4:2-11; 5:13/14; identical to Masoretic Text (MT); latest copy of Genesis in Qumran (ca. AD 30-100)
4QGen[sup]c[/sup] (4Q3): Genesis 40:12-13, 18-23; 41:1-11
4QGen[sup]d[/sup] (4Q4): Genesis 1:18-27; single fragment
4QGen[sup]e[/sup] (4Q5): Genesis 36:43; 37:1-2, 27-30; 40:18?/19?-23; 41:1-8, 35-44; 42:17-19; 43:8-14; 49:6-8; similar to MT and Samaritan Text
4QGen[sup]f[/sup] (4Q6): Genesis 48:1-11
4QGen[sup]g[/sup] (4Q7): Genesis 1:1-11, 13-22; 2:6-7/18-19; two fragments
4QGen[sup]h1[/sup] (4Q8): Genesis 1:8-10
4QGen[sup]h2[/sup] (4Q8a): Genesis 2:17-18
4QGen[sup]h[/sup]para (4Q8b): Paraphrase of Genesis 12:4-5
4QGen[sup]h[/sup]tag (4Q8c): Title tag of a Genesis manuscript
4QGen[sup]j[/sup] (4Q9): Genesis 41:15-18, 23-27, 29-36, 38-43; 42:15-22, 38; 43:1-2, 5-8; 45:14-22, 26-28
4QGen[sup]k[/sup] (4Q10): Genesis 1:9, 14-16, 27-28; 2:1-3; 3:1-2
4QpaleoGen-Exod[sup]1[/sup] (4Q11): Genesis 50:26? + parts of Exodus 1-36; written in paleo-Hebrew script
4QpaleoGen[sup]m[/sup] (4Q12): Genesis 26:21-28 (paleo-Hebrew); oldest copy of Genesis in Qumran (ca. mid-2nd century BC)
4QpapGen? (4Q483): Genesis 1:28-29? (alternatively, copy of Book of Jubilees?); written on papyrus
4QGen[sup]n[/sup] (4Q576): Genesis 34:7-10; 50:3

6QpaleoGen (6Q1): Genesis 6:13-21 (paleo-Hebrew)

6QGen? ar (6Q19): Possible words from Genesis 10:6, 20? (in Aramaic)

8QGen (8Q1): Genesis 17:12-19; 18:20-25


MasGen: Genesis 46:7-11; single fragment (pre-AD 74); similar to MT

Wadi Muraba’at (Naḥal Darga)

MurGen-Exod-Num[sup]a[/sup]: Genesis 32:4-5, 30, 33; 33:1; 34:5-7, 30-31; 35:1, 4-7 (late 1st-early 2nd century); similar to MT
Mur?Gen[sup]b[/sup]: Genesis 33:18-20; 34:1-3 (late 1st-early 2nd century); similar to MT (actual provenance disputed)

Wadi Sdeir (Naḥal David)

SdeirGen: Genesis 35:6-10, 26-29; 36:1-2, 5-17 (late 1st-early 2nd century); similar to MT


Dont forget Septuagint manuscripts, there is at least one 1st century BC manuscript. The Septuagint does provide a Greek translation of a very old Hebrew manuscript tradition.


Oh yeah, Papyrus Fouad 266a (Rahlfs 942). Correct me if I’m wrong here, but most of the other manuscripts of Septuagint Genesis come from the 2nd-3rd century, right?


We could do an ‘oldies’-type thing here.

The oldest artifact containing a biblical text?
The Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls (ca. 7th century BC; Ketef Hinnom, Jerusalem; Numbers 6:24-26)

The oldest extant Hebrew biblical manuscript/fragment?
aka 4Q52[sup]b[/sup] (250-225 BC; Cave 4, Qumran; 1 Samuel 16:1-11; 19:10-17; 21:3-10; 1 Samuel 23:9-17)

The oldest extant Septuagint manuscript/fragment?
Papyrus Rylands 458 (2nd century BC; Faiyum, Egypt; verses from Deuteronomy 24-28)


I hope you will excuse my almost total ignorance in this matter as both have bestowed upon me a lot reading,comprehension that is probably beyond my abilities but beg my ignorant next question.

As an example As it pertains to Genesis, chapter one, is there a consensus among scholars that translated, they(that which you both have cited) mean (?) or can be interpreted to mean the same thing in the script that it was written?
I guess I would be surprised if all scholars agreed, including Christian, Jewish and possibly others who may be neither were to agree ,that a side by side comparison ( if possible ) were identical?

And if Identical, considering the time in which they are attributed too, does each succeeding piece coincide with it equivalent?

What must be lost in the translation in order to make that which is beyond our abilities , created only by the infinite so that we may reach with out limited abilities to attempt to understand that which is truly beyond us? Am I even at this point even making sense?:shrug:

I know that in order to even formulate my initial question leads me to study and most probably attain an answer that I may believe I understand but in reality will probably not.



yes, there is usually a consensus of scholars and “amateur” researchers about the very

first few chapters of Genesis; one of the few problems however, are the unknown nature

of more than a few proto-Hebrew, and seemingly non Hebrew words and characters in

Genesis and the rest of the Torah :frowning: the other four books of moses ) and also the fact so

far that all archeological etc… does confirm the early books ( but not in ways you always

suspect. ) Finally, even though nearly all arcane “ancient” languages are far more

advanced than anything post-457 A.D. not very many seem to know truly how our

forefathers and “Genesis” people live societally and civilly.

God bless


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