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Re: [lxx] Dead Sea Scrolls christian

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  • John Schmitt
    Deidre, Just in case you hadn t seen this -- ... From: Wieland Willker To: LXX-List ; TC-List
    Message 1 of 2 , May 7, 2001
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      Just in case you hadn't seen this --

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Wieland Willker <willker@...-bremen.de>
      To: LXX-List <lxx@yahoogroups.com>; TC-List <tc-list@...-certr.org>
      Date: Monday, May 07, 2001 2:47 AM
      Subject: [lxx] Dead Sea Scrolls christian

      >Well, good story. From the Toronto Star, May 5.
      >Note the name Philip Comfort below. He has his revised version of "NT Greek
      >out these days, btw.
      >Best wishes
      > Wieland
      > <><
      >Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      >See: [line wrap!]
      >Who wrote Dead Sea Scrolls?
      >Integrity of scholars and Bible itself at stake in debate
      >Neil Altman and David Crowder
      >Since the discovery in the late 1940s of a huge cache of scrolls in caves
      near the Dead
      >Sea, a tight-knit community of scholars has insisted they were written by a
      Jewish sect
      >before the birth of Jesus.
      >But new theories and findings are stirring up the debate about the origins
      of the scrolls
      >as images of them have become more available to scholars and the public.
      And evidence is
      >mounting they were written later, perhaps hundreds of years later than most
      >believe, by Christians.
      >At stake is the credibility of the original eight-member team of Dead Sea
      Scroll scholars.
      >Also at stake is the integrity of the Bible itself, which has undergone
      scores of changes
      >because of the scrolls. And more changes are on the way.
      >Some scholars, for instance, say the Temple Scroll should be incorporated
      into the Old
      >Testament as the sixth book of Moses.
      >"The New Revised Standard Version (of the Bible) adds a significant passage
      to 1 Samuel
      >10:27 from the text of the Qumran Samuel scroll," says David Scholer of
      Fuller Theological
      >Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
      >Interestingly, it is Christian versions of the Old Testament to which
      almost all of the
      >changes have been made. Publishers of Jewish Bibles are far less willing to
      alter the
      >scriptures because of the scrolls.
      >Among Christians, their ministers and priests, few are aware that the Dead
      Sea Scrolls
      >have led to more than 800 "minor" changes in Old Testament editions so far.
      >The first scrolls reportedly were found in 1947 in a cave near the ruins of
      >overlooking the Dead Sea. Archaeologists and others discovered 11 caves in
      all that held
      >more than 800 manuscripts, some remarkably well preserved and others
      reduced to fragments.
      >Among the documents were parts of all but one of the 39 books of the Old
      >The prevalent theory is that the scrolls were hidden there in about 68 A.D.
      to keep them
      >out of Roman hands during the Jewish revolt that led to the destruction of
      Jerusalem in 70
      >A long line of scholars have asserted the manuscripts belonged to the
      Essenes, a Jewish
      >sect thought to have occupied Qumran before the time of Christ. But St.
      Epiphanius, a 4th
      >century A.D. scholar and church father, wrote that the name Essene, or
      "lessaeans" in
      >Greek, was used to designate early gentile followers of Jesus. And the
      actual writers of
      >the scrolls never called themselves Essenes, but referred to themselves in
      >terms, such as "the poor" or "poor in spirit.''
      >Christianity is generally unaware of its Jewish roots and influences, which
      existed well
      >into the medieval period that began about 300 A.D. and lasted 1,300 years.
      >If the scrolls are regarded as documents that Essene scribes did not
      produce, they take on
      >a much broader significance and become a link in showing just how much
      Judaism influenced
      >medieval Christian thought.
      >One well-known scholar and author broke ranks with the Dead Sea Scrolls
      establishment in
      >the 1990s, contending that many of the major scrolls come from the first
      and second
      >century A.D. and speak cryptically of Jesus and his brother, James.
      >"If we can identify the scrolls within the first century (A.D.), then all
      the official
      >positions of scroll scholarship collapse," says Robert Eisenman, chairman
      of the Religious
      >Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.
      >The most famous of all Dead Sea Scrolls, the Great Isaiah Scroll, contains
      an abundance of
      >evidence that suggests it was copied much later in Christian times.
      >Prior to the scrolls' discovery, the three oldest known copies of Isaiah
      were part of the
      >Cairo, Aleppo and Leningrad codices, which have been dated from 895 to 950
      A.D. The Isaiah
      >scroll has been officially dated at 100 B.C., yet it contains clear
      separations between
      >sentences and paragraphs that appear more advanced than the three medieval
      Isaiah texts.
      >The evolution of Hebrew manuscripts is described in the Encyclopedia Of
      Judaism, where
      >sentence and paragraph separation — along with vowel marks — are said to
      have been
      >developed by the Masoretes from the 6th to the 10th centuries A.D.
      >The Isaiah scroll also contains examples of how Christians, rather than
      Jews, copied
      >Biblical manuscripts. Corrections made in the body of Isaiah text, for
      instance, suggest
      >it was transcribed by Christian hands because Jewish scribes made their
      corrections in the
      >margins of biblical texts. In 1992, The Lutheran magazine reported that
      Christian copyists
      >usually made the change in the text itself.
      >Since 1950, scholars have recognized that the Great Isaiah Scroll, the most
      >biblical text found at Qumran, contains eleven Xs, most of which are
      heavily marked in the
      >margins. Randall Price, in his 1996 book The Secrets Of The Dead Sea
      Scrolls, writes that
      >Eastern Christianity's Syriac Church used the X as a sign of the cross in
      manuscripts to
      >mark passages about Jesus Christ. That fact, Price wrote, came from
      >The Xs in the Isaiah scroll also correspond to passages often recognized as
      prophecy about
      >the coming messiah, adding credence to the possibility those marks were
      made in the
      >Christian era.
      >"Isaiah chapters 42:1 and 42:6 are clearly messianic passages that speak of
      Jesus, and the
      >Xs here relating to him are an extremely important discovery," says Philip
      Comfort, senior
      >Bible editor at Tyndale Publishing House.
      >There is a previously undiscovered 12th X at the start of Isaiah 7:14 that
      deals with the
      >virgin birth of the Messiah. The presence of that X is confirmed by Sheynin
      and other
      >scholars consulted for this article.
      >Sheynin also confirms that a uniquely Christian-sounding change was made in
      the 11th verse
      >of Chapter 7 in the Great Isaiah Scroll.
      >In that passage, according to the New International Version of the Bible,
      God tells the
      >Jewish king Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest
      depths or in
      >the highest heights.''
      >But it reads very differently in the Isaiah scroll — a fact overlooked by
      scroll scholars
      >but confirmed by Sheynin and others. As it appears in the scroll, Sheynin
      says he would
      >translate the passage as ``Ask a sign from the father of the Lord (your)
      God . . .''
      >Sheynin says, "it looks like somebody wrote and corrected it. There is a
      possibility that
      >someone corrected it to fit his own religious beliefs.
      >"The change was made after Christianity became prominent. We cannot think
      anything like
      >this would appear before 90 AD.''
      >Other scholars give the passage an even more Christian twist, saying it
      could also be
      >translated as God telling Ahaz to ask for a sign not from the father of
      God, but from the
      >mother of God.
      >John Trever, the first scholar to photograph the scrolls, now disputes the
      >of Isaiah 7:11 that appears in the 1950 book written around his photos, The
      Dead Sea
      >Scrolls Of St. Mark's Monastery, and in his own book about the scrolls,
      published in 1972.
      >Asked why the passage was given the traditional reading that omits any
      reference to the
      >words "mother" or "father," Trever says, "That's a good question, and I
      don't have an
      >Norman Golb, who holds the chair of the Jewish people at the University of
      Chicago and
      >author of Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls? (Scribners, 1995), reluctantly
      acknowledged the
      >change as well when, during an interview, he provided an on-the-spot
      translation of Isaiah
      >"Ask of thyself a sign from the mother of God," Golb says, adding, "or the
      father of
      >Asked why the passage was not accurately transcribed, Golb dismissed the
      change, saying
      >that it would have been "gibberish" to refer either to the mother or father
      of God.
      >While scholars were willing to discuss the changes in Isaiah 7:11, they
      balked at the
      >apparent changes in Isaiah 53, a chapter that Christians believe refers to
      the Messiah's
      >suffering for the sins of mankind.
      >Isaiah 53:1, the Hebrew word "al" was changed to "El'', implying that the
      Messiah would be
      >Farther down, in the Isaiah 53:9, a passage that refers to the slain
      Messiah, the scribe
      >again altered the traditional text by adding a word that can be translated
      as "awaken,"
      >suggesting the resurrection that is at the heart of Christianity.
      >Although the Dead Sea Scrolls were reportedly discovered 53 years ago,
      scholars have paid
      >little attention to the use of red ink in some of the Biblical texts found
      at Qumran.
      >Yet, University of Pennsylvania scholars say the earliest use of red ink in
      >manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus written by Christian monks, was
      in the 3rd or
      >4th century A.D. Sheynin says it wasn't until 1,000 years later that red
      ink first
      >appeared in Hebrew manuscripts.
      >Rabbinical sources state categorically that from ancient times on, only
      black ink was to
      >be used in Torah texts. Yet red ink is used in more than a few scroll
      fragments, including
      >two from the biblical book of Numbers. That would seem to suggest that the
      texts were
      >written by non-Jewish scribes
      >Neil Altman is a Philadelphia-based writer who specializes in the Dead Sea
      Scrolls and
      >religion. David Crowder is an investigative reporter for the El Paso Times.
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