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Dead Sea Scrolls....debunked?


Abiyoyo
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1994. This is when this statement was made, 3years after the 'chosen' oversee of this discovery was released, and made available to all people of interest. Interesting fact, since Christianity swears by these findings. This is from http://www.gnosis.org/library/dss/dss.htm

 

What are your thoughts about it?

 

 

 

 

After fifty years, it is still difficult to say how future scholarship will judge the importance of the DSS discovery. Several individuals now suggest the Scrolls are globally less important than implied by decades of relentless publicity. Consider the balancing and sobering appraisal given by Dr. Eliezer Segal (Professor of Religious Studies, University of Calgary) in his 1994 article titled "The Dead Sea Scrolls Dud":

Coming from someone who makes his living from the study of ancient Jewish texts, it might surprise some readers when I declare my conviction that the Dead Sea Scrolls are not all that important, and that their impact has been inflated out of all proportion by the media and various interested parties.

 

The intense public fascination with the Qumran scrolls was fueled by the expectation that documents contemporary with the beginnings of Christianity would provide valuable–or even revolutionary–new insights into the origin of that religion. The Christian scholars who controlled much of the research into the scrolls made every effort to uncover allusions to Christian concerns, and tiny fragments were fancifully pieced together so as to produce theological statements about divine or suffering messiahs. The archeological site at Qumran was even described as if it had housed a medieval European monastery.

 

These dubious conclusions have been utilized both as confirmation of Christian tradition and as refutations of its uniqueness or originality. Either way, they succeeded in transforming the esoteric world of Dead Sea Scroll scholarship into a lucrative industry whose potential market included much of the Christian world.

 

Not surprisingly, almost none of these alleged Christian links find factual support in the evidence of the scrolls. The simple truth is that the scrolls contain a representative sample of the diverse literature that Jews were producing during the latter part of the Second Temple Era, a time marked by factionalism and ferment in the Jewish community of Eretz Yisrael. As such, they reflect typical Jewish concerns, most notably in the area of halakhah, Jewish religious law, which, then as today, ignited the most virulent controversies between competing sects. These simple and obvious facts rarely get mentioned in the popular representations of the scrolls.

 

The scrolls do enrich our knowledge of a very complex time in Jewish history, though much of this knowledge is of value only to scholarly specialists, and even their more substantial contributions (in such areas as the development of the Hebrew language and Jewish legal exegesis) are unlikely to sell a lot of newspaper tabloids or TV sponsorships. (JFP, Aug. 25 1994, p.9

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Someone wrote a book about the Gnostic Jesus and how the story of Iesus was 'hijacked' by Christianity and forcibly made its own legend. Such documents could be the ones Paul refers to several times in his teachings as scripture.

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Someone wrote a book about the Gnostic Jesus and how the story of Iesus was 'hijacked' by Christianity and forcibly made its own legend. Such documents could be the ones Paul refers to several times in his teachings as scripture.

 

Yeah, I read some of these 4years ago, but now I'm going back through them. Just learned some of what you just said. Seems somethings amiss, a book of translation of the text at Nag, written in the 60's; its in the Library of Congress. Don't know if that means anything, I always thought it did. I feel like that movie National Treasure :grin:

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Good evening. Here is the news on Friday, the 27th of Geldof. Archeologists near mount Sinai have discovered what is believed to be a missing page from the Bible. The page is currently being carbon dated in Bonn. If genuine it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read "To my darling Candy. All characters portrayed within this book are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The page has been universally condemned by church leaders.

--Red Dwarf, Better than Life

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From a perspective of scholarship on the early church, Christianity or manuscript evidence for the Bible the Dead Sea Scrolls are that important. But I don't know if they've been "debunked" as that would imply that they are all forgeries or somesuch. I think they are interesting and important, they just have little bearing on the three above topics (although some texts do seem to imply that frenzy about a coming messiah was popular among some Jewish groups at the time, which does have bearing on the question of whether or not Jesus was the expected messiah or just some random-ass dude).

 

 

But personally, I prefer the Nag Hammadi library for sheer awesomeness, but I'm kinda a nerd like that.

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Well, this all seems misleading. The whole thing seems to be based on whether or not there is any xianity in the texts. Since the DSS do not have any then they are a bust. What an odd position for a Gnostic xian site to take.

 

The DSS texts are valuable in Jewish studies. Maybe even a proto-xian movement. The Nag Hammadi texts are valuable in gnostic/xian studies. There is no real either/or here. Every ancient text that can be discovered is important.

 

mwc

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Yes, I find the article quite odd. When I was a Christian, the main hype behind the DSS was that they helped confirm the preservation of the biblical texts. We didn't have Old Testament book copies as old as what there was in the DSS. So to find a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah that was a few hundred years older and very close to the texts being used to translate from ... well ... that is pretty exciting for a Christian or a Jew.

 

From a purely historical/archaeological perspective, the same is true. Their age and how complete many of the documents are is important. No matter who penned them (and there is dispute about that) they still give us a glimpse into the mindset and worldview of some people/groups from that time.

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The problems with chasing Iesus around using the Dead Sea Scrolls are that the Dead Sea Scrolls were about Old Testament writings, not New Testament.

 

Going out on a Timb.......ber here :HaHa: But, I am in 24/7 study mode right now because I didn't know the history about the Gnostic texts. Irenaeus wrote almost word for word in summarization about the movement then. I will have to look it up, as it's in a commentary. But as far as the Dead Sea scrolls, I think the most important factor for Christians was the Isaiah scroll.

 

Hans

If genuine it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read "To my darling Candy. All characters portrayed within this book are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The page has been universally condemned by church leaders.

 

:HaHa: The Gnostic view is looking better and better.

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The Gnostics, I believe, were real enough but they took for granted that what was written by the Jews was true, just like the Muslims believe many points in the OT and NT writings. Christianity, its own crackpot religion, has spawned many other crackpots yammering they are the true church and only they have knowledge of the true gospel of Christ. The Gnostics, from what I have seen on documentaries on television about Iesus, had a mystic reverence for Iesus, and wrote stories about him. These stories were hijacked by the Christian church and made their own and labeled the Gnostics as a cult. Gnostics have been hounded and killed with other nonbelievers, not because they did not believe in Iesus, but nonbelief in the Catholic church's version of salvation. Two opposing religions, one center of debate, and the Catholics won out by might with the help of political rulers of the time long ago and subsequent years of persecution. There is a lot of debate as to whether or not the Gnostic Christian church today is the same one in the 2nd or 3rd CE era. there is reason to believe my way of telling this is not exactly correct but it is how I remember the stories. Any one who knows more about this, I'd like to hear from them as well. The Christian church has always had a penchant for lying through their teeth in order to make every one kiss their asses concerning Iesus. So I cannot claim the Catholic history is correct because they wrote it, and I cannot claim the Gnostic history is correct because they wrote it and over the years these 'historical' events have been muddied by time. As I read the Nag Hamadi, I see similarities to Christianity but without the influence of Paul or whoever wrote most of the NT in his name. I am not swayed that the Nag Hamadi is true, it is a collection of inspirational stories but it does not have the flavor of the over-interpretated Bible most of us are familiar with.

 

Christians love the Dead Sea Scrolls because they use them to support their notions the OT is god-inspired and gives proof to the claims the stories are true--point being Isaiah. The Nag Hamadi books were written by those with knowledge of the ancient Hebrew texts. I'm sure Christians and Gnostics will fight over who owns these texts. In my opinion, the Dead Sea Scrolls belong to the Jews for whom and by whom they were written. I do not believe the Gnostics wrote them. I believe the Gnostics are responsible for the various gospels found in the Nag Hamadi. Christians are just livid that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain nothing about their gospels. Christians teach that Paul had all these scriptures in a NT-type Bible that he referred to in his journies. They are incorrect. The scriptures Paul referred to are like the ones found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not the Nag Hamadi as some claim, nor NT books as the Christains claim. Which goes back to the argument, who wrote the NT and where, when, and from whom did they acquire the books for it? Just because some stories are older than others does not mean the oldest ones are the true ones nor that the new ones are the true ones. Remain skeptical about everything!

 

Today we have Gostic Catholics, Gnostic Protestants, Gnostic Pagans, Gnostic -insert name here-. Gnosticism is a search for secret knowledge that was hidden or forbidden to be told to the general public. I believe the Gnostics are mystics, which means today they pursue the hidden mysticism of religon and most believe these hidden teachings are found in all religions, not that they are hidden convertly, but they are hidden in the sense that it takes study to discover what those teachings are. The Golden Rule, do unto others, etc.c is one such hidden teaching that is taught by all cultures and religions. So in a sense, Gnosticism was the first inter-religious group of people. And because they accept others into their group without reservation, they are labeled as kooks by the religious majority, the Christian church. Of course this idea needs more study.

 

Gnosticism is the quest for knowledge, which is why I like the Universal Gnostics because they are independent and study to discover what is true concerning everything from Iesus to evolution without the confines of doctrines by a controlling and tyrannical cult, such as Christianity. Biology is gnosis, Science is gnosis, astronomy has gnosis. Everything that is a quest for knowledge is gnosis. In the NT we learn of the Bereans that read and studied scriptures night and day to see if what they heard about Iesus was true. Unfortunately, we do not have their conclusion available. It, like the true Bereans, are lost forever. We have the church of Christians called the Bereans but they are a nondenom. group that took its name from the original Bereans to give credibility to their church. Sound familiar? What if the Bereans were the Gnostics?

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I'm confused by what this means for the Gnostics. Does this mean that the Gnostics aren't real and these writings are just Jewish fanficton or am I misreading the article?

 

Neon, I think the most important proponent for the Gnostic is the fact that the God of the OT was not the One True God, and the Father that Jesus speaks of was the True God, along with Jesus as heir to that Trueness. Have you ever read the Apocryphon of John? Believer or not Neon, if you have interest in the whole Christian, Jesus, divinity thing; it's a good read. Here's a link.

 

http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html

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I'm confused by what this means for the Gnostics. Does this mean that the Gnostics aren't real and these writings are just Jewish fanficton or am I misreading the article?

 

The Gnostics, to my knowledge, have never been connected with the DSS. In fact, I think that recently the debate over who wrote the DSS and where they did it from has been reopened.

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The Gnostics, I believe, were real enough but they took for granted that what was written by the Jews was true, just like the Muslims believe many points in the OT and NT writings.
So, the Gnostics were real, they just didn't write their gospels or at least not one the ones in the dead sea scrolls? I've always wondered what were the Gnostics like as a people? All I know about them are some of their beliefs, like I know they didn't believe the god of the OT was the true god and they saw the serpent in Genesis as the hero of the story, and I've read a few Gnostic gospels online before. But I don't know much about what were they like as a people? Like, what were their traditions or religious rituals like if they had any? What were their moral beliefs like? Were they more moral than the mainstream Christians at the time or was their morality more or less the same? Didn't they believe the human body to be sinful? How did they approach sin compared to the mainstream Christians and what did they consider to be sins? What was their culture like and stuff?
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But I don't know much about what were they like as a people? Like, what were their traditions or religious rituals like if they had any? What were their moral beliefs like? Were they more moral than the mainstream Christians at the time or was their morality more or less the same? Didn't they believe the human body to be sinful? How did they approach sin compared to the mainstream Christians and what did they consider to be sins? What was their culture like and stuff?

 

They were suppressed by early Christianity. In Irenaeus, he mentions distinguished excerpts from their writings, revelation, including the apocryphon of John, I think I linked that earlier in the thread, not sure. But, the sect as whole dates back as early as Christianity. Yet, the stronger, much accompanied Catholic presented them as heresy. I don't know much about their development through history, or if they are even the same 'type' of formation of church. As HZ said earlier, there name has been used in conjunction with all types of sects.

 

I pointed out earlier in the thread that there was a commentary written about the Apocryphon of John, which is the same John of Revelations. The Gnostic site notes that the early books of John, were being debated whether to be canonized or not by early church fathers. there is also an Acts of John in the Nag Library. The commentary though, it was in the 1960's, and it was a commentary of the original text, and commentary at the same time. They have I think four surviving copies of the texts. Anyway, I ran into this because I wanted to see the original translation, and research a few words myself. Particularly, the part about the anatomy, and the designated archons or whatever. So, I found this book, and turns out I can't view it anywhere, and it's in the Library of Congress :eek: Go figure.

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So, the Gnostics were real, they just didn't write their gospels or at least not one the ones in the dead sea scrolls? I've always wondered what were the Gnostics like as a people? All I know about them are some of their beliefs, like I know they didn't believe the god of the OT was the true god and they saw the serpent in Genesis as the hero of the story, and I've read a few Gnostic gospels online before. But I don't know much about what were they like as a people? Like, what were their traditions or religious rituals like if they had any? What were their moral beliefs like? Were they more moral than the mainstream Christians at the time or was their morality more or less the same? Didn't they believe the human body to be sinful? How did they approach sin compared to the mainstream Christians and what did they consider to be sins? What was their culture like and stuff?

 

 

Yes, the gnostics were real. Some of their scriptures are found in the Nag Hammadi find, not the dead sea scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls were what we would refer to as the Old Testament (someone correct me if I am wrong) I am not sure, maybe some books from the Apocrypha. These were books included by Catholics in the Old Testament but left out by Protestants.

 

I think the major excitement with the Dead Sea Scrolls was the discovery of an earlier edition of Isaiah than had ever been seen before.

 

I think the gnostics must have been the major threat to the early "orthodox" christian church. Scholars knew about the existence of the gnostics by reading writings by the early Church Fathers condemning their heresies. I believe it even goes back to the beginning of Christianity and there were some things put into the New Testament to bolster the position of orthodoxy.

 

Their beliefs are quite complex and they are esoteric. Quite different than Christianity as we know it. It was secret knowledge. For one thing, I can say they thought women and men were equal. This site looked interesting:

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/gnostic.htm

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Scholars knew about the existence of the gnostics by reading writings by the early Church Fathers condemning their heresies. I believe it even goes back to the beginning of Christianity and there were some things put into the New Testament to bolster the position of orthodoxy.

 

HZ earlier, was suggesting that they may have been the Bereans spoke of by Paul. This is quite possible, which if it had been confirmed, then it would have meant they were converted from Jews to Gnostic around the time of Paul. Of course, we don't know that for fact, but they exhibit similarities. It is all very interesting.

 

I say.....the orthodoxy at the time, would've caused them to have to debunk the OT God, so they figured they wouldn't be able to establish that 'kingdom' they had wanted all the while. I can see Peter saying, Are you sure John, did He really say all that? Dangit! Now I'm all confused! I think Paul on the other hand, got it and accepted it. And is why his writings were a little different than the rest, and why he didn't get along to well with Peter, yet, Peter knew it was true, so he was accepting of Paul. Here's Peter to Paul....Paaaul.. Yes Peter. ....Now, remember, keep John's revelation to yourself. Of course, Paul disobeys and goes on a preaching spree :grin:

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Do the Dead Sea Scrolls predate the return of the Jews from Babylon or were they written after the return? If they predate the return then the writings of the Jews are close to whatever writings the ancients left them. If they are newer than the return, then they are just copies of OT scripture written after the return from exile. In which case, in my opinion, the scriptures are forgeries and mean nothing, to me anyway.

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No surviving texts date to older than ~300 BCE (from memory this is the Isaiah scroll). Long after the return from Babylon.

 

mwc

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No surviving texts date to older than ~300 BCE (from memory this is the Isaiah scroll). Long after the return from Babylon.

 

mwc

 

MWC, your evaluation is of one, which is manuscript dating. The materials content date them much earlier, though you are correct that the oldest fragment of Hebrew is around 200-300BC. Whether they are copies or not, I would assume it would have been a difficult task to revive 3000-4000 years worth of details. It is more logical, and rational to assume they were copied over around 200-300BC, from the originals that would have probably dated back 3000-4000years. I don't think Jews then were to much worried about MWC, or anyone else testing the documents 2200 years later to authenticate it. It was real to them, authentic, and still is, to our Jewish country today.

 

I find the scrutiny of text dating very redundant.

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Whether they are copies or not, I would assume it would have been a difficult task to revive 3000-4000 years worth of details. It is more logical, and rational to assume they were copied over around 200-300BC, from the originals that would have probably dated back 3000-4000years. I don't think Jews then were to much worried about MWC, or anyone else testing the documents 2200 years later to authenticate it. It was real to them, authentic, and still is, to our Jewish country today.

 

I find the scrutiny of text dating very redundant.

Based on? The "prophets" are pretty much all from the Babylonian period onward so allowing for that we're only adding another few hundred years to most every text in the OT. Even with traditional dating (ie. assuming a biblical time line) Exodus would date from less than 1000 years beyond that and since we're told Moses also wrote Genesis that places it in the same boat. 1300 years past the year I gave is the end of the road for when these things could have been originally written (on the outside).

 

mwc

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