Dead Sea Scrolls

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sandy_mcd
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Dead Sea Scrolls

#1

Post by sandy_mcd » Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:04 pm

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0610220111oct22,0,4408270,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed wrote: U. of C. professor may be right after all
Chicago scholar's long-discredited theory on Dead Sea Scrolls finds support in new archeological dig
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By Ron Grossman
Tribune staff reporter

October 22, 2006

The Dead Sea Scrolls have provoked endless controversies since the ancient manuscripts, hidden away in the age of Jesus, were recovered in an obscure corner of the Holy Land in the late 1940s.

But one thing scholars have agreed upon: Norman Golb is wrong.

Golb, a feisty University of Chicago professor, has long argued that the scrolls are a sort of library of writings by different Jewish sects hidden near a site known as Qumran to protect the texts from Roman invaders.

Most scholars, meanwhile, have insisted that the scrolls are the work of a tiny sect that wrote them in a monastery at Qumran.
...

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#2

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:16 pm

Great Article. Thanks for posting it Sandy!
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#3

Post by August » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:17 pm

Wow, interesting. I read the book "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception" many years ago, which at the time seemed to be somewhat similar in conclusion to what Golb is claiming, although the claims of the authors regarding conspiracy theories have since been disproven.
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#4

Post by David Blacklock » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:08 pm

Great article, Sandy -

I recently read selected chapters (and skimmed the rest) in "The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" by VanderKam and Peter Flint, 2002. I heard Flint speak about the DSS's a couple of years ago at the annual main Biblical Archaeology Society meeting. Hershel Shanks was there, too, and spoke at the last night's banquet.

It may be hard to tell whether Shanks is actually an advocate of the new idea. He likes to stir the soup, as if perhaps just to keep people interested. The book I read was most certainly of the old opinion.

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#5

Post by David Blacklock » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:09 pm

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5842298/site/newsweek/

I found another entry about that DSS issue. I also had a third, but now I can't find it.

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#6

Post by sandy_mcd » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:39 pm

Hmm. That article says Golb first raised the idea of the scrolls being written elsewhere in 1994 whereas the other article says he has been trying to convince people for 40 years.
If Jerusalem is only 20 miles away, I wonder how different the mules would have been that DNA analysis would mean much of anything.

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#7

Post by sandy_mcd » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:35 pm

And now for an opposing view:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-sci-qumran14nov14,1,7793363.story?coll=chi-news-hed wrote: Following directions in the Dead Sea Scrolls, archeologists have found the latrines used by the sect that produced the scrolls, discovering that efforts to achieve ritual purity inadvertently exposed members to intestinal parasites that shortened their lives.
...
The discovery of the unique toilet area provides further evidence linking the scrolls to Qumran — an association that has recently been called into question by a small but vociferous group of archeologists who have argued that the settlement was a pottery factory, a country villa or a Roman fortress, but not a monastery.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, the revisionists claim, were actually hidden in the caves of Qumran by Jews fleeing the devastation of Jerusalem during the Roman suppression beginning in AD 66. The majority of archeologists, in contrast, argue that the scrolls were copies produced by a small sect, generally called the Essenes, who lived at Qumran.

Because the location of the latrine was specified in two of the most important scrolls found at the site, its discovery provides strong evidence associating the settlement with the scrolls, Tabor said.

Tabor and his colleagues "make a pretty good case," said Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archeology Review. Nonetheless, he added, "the argument about whether it is an Essene community will go on for many years and maybe never be settled."
Then again, maybe fleeing Jews left some of their scrolls with the Essenes, assuming that the Essenes' respect for writings outweighed any religious differences.

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Dead Sea Scrolls

#8

Post by David Blacklock » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:55 pm

There's a 16 page chapter in my "Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" book (by VanderKam and Flint) titled "Identifying the Group Associated With Qumran."

Excerpts from the chapter:

"There are several possibilities.

1. The scrolls were associated with a Jewish group known to us - that would be Pharisees (Zealots as a subgroup), Saducees, or Essenes.
2. They are associated with a Jewish group unknown to us from ancient sources.
3. They were not associated with a single group, but with the nation.
4. They were not associated with a Jewish group, but with a Christian group.

Identification as an Essene group has received the most support. We don't know much about Jewish groups of that time. Labels can also so be slippery - Democrat/Republican. Perhaps word such as Pharisee/Essene were as flexible.

Conclusion: The Qumran community was a small branch of the larger Essene movement...Pliney the Elder identified them fairly accurately as Essenes in his book "Natural History" in 77CE. Pliney said there were no women in the group, they lacked money, and though noone was born into it, the group continued to exist owing to newcomers who joined. All of these characteristics and more can be documented from Qumran texts and fit no other Jewish group mentioned in ancient sources. There is no obvious reason why Pliney would have fabricated his account.

The accounts from other ancient sectarian scrolls also agree with the accounts of the Qumran scrolls and no other group matches.

Josephus notes that the Pharisees say that certain events are the work of fate, but not all. He says the Saducees do away with fate altogether. He says the Essenes declare that fate is the mistriss of all things. Later, in another text, Josephus restates it as, " Essenes leave everything in the hands of God." The same picture emerges from Qumran sectarian texts in "Rule of the Community." The "Thanksgiving Psalm" expresses the same deterministic theology, as does the "Damascus Document."

The same sort of matches are made with their practices of sharing community property and money, and with an incremental timeframe of becoming a member, and a hierarchy within the membership.

The point is there is remarkably precise correspondence on the fundamental beliefs and practices between classical description of the Essenes and what is written in the scrolls.

For a long time it was thought there were skeletons of women and children in the Essene cemetaries. It appears now that those graves with the bones of women and children are from a much later time than the Essene settlement at Qumran and are in fact Beduin burials.

Possibility of Saducees being amongst the group: The Qumran occupants and Saducees had a common strict legal interpretation of the Torah, but their theological beliefs were contradictory. The Saducees did not believe in predestination or an afterlife, and the Qumran community believed strongly in both.

Possibility of Pharisees being amongst the group: There were major disagreements between the two groups on both theology and the law. It is likely that the writers of some scrolls refer to the Pharisees as opponents, referring to "those who look for smooth things" they probably are punning on the Pharisaic word for legal statements and are criticizing them in the process.

About Golb: "Another view defended by a couple of experts is that no one group was responsible for the scrolls. Rather, the scrolls came from Jerusalem (from a library or libraries there) and were hidden in the caves to protect them from the invading /rmans at some point between 66 and 70 CE. They do not, therefore, express the views of one sect but of a broad range of Jewish opinion at the time. This hypothesis was articulated in 1960 by Rengstorf and was later defended with some alterations by Norman Golb. Golb, unlike Rengstorf, thinks the
Qumran structures were a fortress and that the contents of the caves ere not associated with the people in the portress. This view has not commended itself because it clearly does not fit the evidence. It does not account for the fact that, where a scroll expresses a distinctive view, this is an Essene one, never, say, a distinctively Pharasaic one. That is unexpected if the Pharisees were supposed to be a major force in Jewish society in the last century BCE and the first century CE. The scrolls seem far from expressing the views of broader Judaism and appear to articulate those of one group within it - a group opposing itself to others. Also, that Qumran was a fortress is contrary to the conclusions of the archaeologists who have worked there.

When all is said and done, the Essene hypotheses is consistent with the evidence and provides the most economical explanation. All other identifications come face-to-face with too much counter-evidence."

Possibility of it being a Christian group: supported by several books by Eisenman. He has James the brother of Jesus being the "Teacher of Righteousness." Unfortunately, a copy of the "Damascus Document" from the 1st century BCE talks about the teacher, which predates James. Bottom line, there is no evidence and lots of counterevidence to this proposal.

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Dead Sea Scrolls

#9

Post by David Blacklock » Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:43 am

I just looked up Dead Sea Scrolls in Wikipedia - they give a lot more credence to new theories, including the one introducing this thread. Of course, The contributors to the Dead Sea Scrolls section on Wikipedia may be more persistent. The truth of an issue is not necessarily proportional to the number of sheep in that issue's flock.

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#10

Post by hetfield » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:27 pm

i've heard about the dead sea scrolls but i'm not sure of the exact definition, i looked it up in wikipedia.org but with no personal background information on it and no knowledge of this i have no grounds to start actually understanding what it means, could somone give me a brief explanation of what the dead sea scrolls are. in a few paragraphs

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#11

Post by hetfield » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:43 am

an ape wrote:hetfield stated: i looked it up in wikipedia.org but with no personal background information on it and no knowledge of this i have no grounds to start actually understanding what it means, could somone give me a brief explanation of what the dead sea scrolls are.

an ape: You did read what was in wikipedia, didn't you?

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#12

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Nov 24, 2006 6:07 pm

hetfield wrote:
an ape wrote:hetfield stated: i looked it up in wikipedia.org but with no personal background information on it and no knowledge of this i have no grounds to start actually understanding what it means, could somone give me a brief explanation of what the dead sea scrolls are.

an ape: You did read what was in wikipedia, didn't you?

an ape
yah i did, learn how to QUOTE.
Yeah! We need to hold those upstart apes to some kind of standard! ;)

The Dead Sea Scrolls are basically a group of scrolls preserved in pottery discovered in the 1940's that in many instances took the oldest outstanding manuscripts of some old testament manuscripts back many hundreds of years more than what we had before.

Who hid them and stored them in this manner and why have been a matter of debate for many years. Knowing that, helps to shed some more light on the manuscripts themselves and so it is something that is of great importance to those who study such things in great detail.

That's the eagle's eye view on that.

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