The Dead Sea Scrolls-Your opinions on them......

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by TexasSky, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    When the King James Bible was written in the 1600's there were just a few ancient scrolls to refer to.

    The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 changed that. There are thousands of scrolls in Hebrew and Aramaic. There are 3 types of scrolls.
    1) Copies of books from the old testament, such as two almost complete Isaiah scrolls.
    2) Copies of books that are usually part of the Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
    3) Things aren't considered religious books, such as a book of rules called "The Manual of Discipline," a book that is an allegory about war between the angles of light and the angels of darkness, some devotional poems called the Thanksgiving Psalms, a scroll about temple rituals, and a commentary about Habakkuk.

    My initial gut reaction to this discovery was that it was amazing, and wonderful and I was thrilled. Now - I'm fuzzy on it.

    I read the "scholars" say this is probably the library of a sect of Jews called the Essene. They were neither Pharisees or Sadducees and they taught many of the things Christ taught.....

    And that's where I start to get nervous about the world's reaction.

    When I first heard about these scrolls and this theory, it was presented almost as proof of the existence of Christ.

    That's changed. Today, a quick look into the topic seems to paint Christ as the leader of a Jewish-fringe-cult, and starts to sound dangerously like trying to discredit Christ.

    When I was young, every few people had been allowed near the scrolls. Now, I assume, seminaries are able to tell kids about them.

    I'm curious about anyone's opinion, but most especially about you men who have been through seminary or done college-level-studies in Bible History since the translation of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    What's God telling you about them?
     
  2. Gold Dragon

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    Having the DSS say something about Jesus being an Essene is speculation beyond the scope of the actual manuscripts.

    The Essenes were known before the DSS were found and it is debateable that the DSS were actually Essene documents, although they are the most likely candidates.

    The manuscripts themselves are pivotal for textual criticism of the OT being our oldest surviving OT manuscripts. Comparisons to the Masoretic texts and the Greek LXX help improve our confidence in the accuracy reproducing the original autographs.
     
  3. LarryN

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    I've seen some of the scrolls, in the "Shrine of the Book" museum in Jerusalem. I've also been to the caves where the scrolls were discovered, at Qumran near the Dead Sea.

    As to their historical or theological significance? I'm not qualified to assess either of those aspects.
     
  4. TexasSky

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    Thank you Gold Dragon and thank you Larry N.

    Gold Dragon - Thank you especially regarding the Essene. I'd never, until I saw this stuff recently, heard of the Dead Sea scrolls containing anything about Christ, nor had I heard anything about Him being viewed as Essene until recently. (By recent - I mean I hadn't heard it until 2005.) Since I had no idea if I was reading articles by reputable men of history or of God, I thought I'd run it by people I trusted.

    LarryN - that is awesome that you've been able to see them.

    Gold Dragon - I agree that anything that helps us translate an ancient language more accurately is a good thing.

    I'm always skeptical about things that come out today in terms of Bible Reserach because so many people are trying to discredit the bible.

    One article I saw said that one of the scrolls "explains why Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac," and I was thinking, "What are they talking about? The bible already answered that."

    Anyway. I'm glad I asked. You've taught me today. Thank you.
     
  5. Charles Meadows

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    The scholarly consensus on the DSS is that they represent the library of a group of Essenes (a "minority party" who had heavy influence from the book of Enoch and other first temple traditions) who had broken off from the Jerusalem establishment and formed their own community. They encompass a wide variety of text types, some of which are definitely sectarian and others which are not.

    Other opinions have been given regarding the DSS community. Lawrence Schiffman thinks they were the product of a Sadducee community. Norman Golb thinks the community was a military fortress. Gabriele Bocaccinni thinks they represent a Zadokite party which had previously severed ties with the Essenes. Some have even gone as far as to say that the scrolls speak of Jesus and John the Baptist, but that is far-fetched.

    So how do the DSS help US? They give us a snapshot of Jewish thinking from right around the time of Jesus. We need to keep in mind that the Essenes were critical of the Jerusalem priesthood - thus the opinions espoused in the sectarian documents do not represent the "norm" of second temple Judaism - but the background they give us is invaluable. Things like "how did Jews view the law?", "how was righteousness merited?", etc.
     
  6. Ben W

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    I have had the opportunty to study the Dead Sea Scrolls in Bible College this year, and from what I have seen it is reasonable to accept them as a true and accurate account and that they are genuine.

    Bear in mind that some differnet religious groups of today have an agenda and use whatever they can find to try and appear that it backs up their claims. Look for example at the number of cults that misinterpret the KJV, although the Jehovahs Witness have their own translation, they cannot attack the KJV because it was used prior to their translation by members of the 144 000, yet they openly misinterpret it.

    I dont believe that Jesus was an Essene, although I think there is a case to be made that John the Baptist had some contact with that group, the have in common that they were outside of the Temple and rejected the Temple system. Yet it is to long a bow to draw to say that he was an Essene.
     
  7. Psalm145 3

    Psalm145 3
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    The Dead Sea Scrolls are an interesting archaeological find. But regardless of what is contained in the scrolls, it has no bearing whatsoever on the preserved words of God that we have today.

    The words of God have never been lost--not in the sands of Egypt, not in a false religious monastery, not in the Vatican library, not in caves in Qumran.

    The preserved words of God have always been in use among Bible believing Christians throughout history, and today those words are properly translated into English in the KJV.

    Why search for something that hasn't been lost?
     
  8. superdave

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    Alrighty then, I am actually impressed.

    It took Seven Posts for a serious inquiry about the historical validity of the DSS to become used as a soapbox for extra-biblical *word starting with 'h' I won't use cause it will get edited* regarding the King James Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

    Lets try to do better next time shall we, I am sure we can make it post 2 or 3

    So what about the Folks before the KJV was completed? Did they need to search for something that was lost? Did they have any reason to be actively engaged in ensuring the accuracy of the translations they used? Or were the Words of God preserved in the Gutenberg Bible, or perhaps it was the Geneva, or maybe Tyndale's print. Different translations and versions are simply a result of the fact the the scriptures were inspired by God in the original languages and must be carefully translated, and cared for by those who desire to have the truth. The KJV is one good example of why that is important, along with a few others.
     

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