FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-10-2001, 09:16 AM   #1
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post The Dead Sea Scrolls

I know very little about this subject. Don, could you point me in the direction of a good article about this on the web? Or perhaps give me a brief summary.
Do they mention Jesus at all?
Of course, I could use my favorite search engine (Google) and find something but I would like to know if its worth my time beforehand.
I know the DSS were found in the late 40's and apparently caused a greater stir than the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922, and I've also heard that its taking a suspiciously long time translating them.

Take care

Martin
 
Old 05-10-2001, 10:07 AM   #2
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Exclamation

The Dead Sea Scrolls are outside of my area of expertise. I'm going to ask Richard Carrier to respond to your feedback.

In the meantime, here's what I do know:
1.) At least some of the scrolls have been translated, but I believe that there is an official translation yet to come.
2.) There is or was quite a bit of controversy about the translation process and the translation(s).

Do the scrolls mention Jesus? One of the Secular Web authors says that the scrolls predate Jesus, but information on the WWW says that the Qumran scrolls date from 250 B.C. to about 65 A.D., and at other locations to about 135 A.D. [See: http://www.hum.huji.ac.il/staff/fdss.htm ]

-----------

There are a number of sites on the Web which, taken together, should tell you just about anything that you would want to know about the Dead Sea Scrolls:

Dead Sea Scrolls Project
http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/PROJ/SCR/Scrolls.html

DeadSeaScrolls.com
http://www.deadseascrolls.com/primapag%20dr.htm

Dead Sea Scrolls & Qumran
http://www.flash.net/~hoselton/deadsea/deadsea.htm

Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/

Scrolls from the Dead Sea
http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea....bit/intro.html

Shrine of the Book
http://www.imj.org.il/shrine/

WSRP (West Semitic Research Project)
http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/

-----------

There are also some books available through Amazon.com

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes

The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered : The First Complete Translation and Interpretation of 50 Key Documents Withheld for over 35 Years by Robert H. Eisenman, Michael O. Wise

The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh (Contributor)

Don

[Note: This topic is being copied from Feedback to Biblical Criticism & Archaeology. Someone there might know the what you want to know.]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 11:12 AM   #3
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

The Dead Sea Scrolls do not mention Jesus. There are a couple of documents that mention a Teacher of Righteousness and a Wicked Priest. A few scholars (particularly R. Eisenman and B. Thiering) have held the view that these represented Jesus and John the Baptist, however, their views are largely rejected because they reject or ignore the paleographic dating of the MSS.

Also, there is no DSS conspiracy. This was drummed up by R. Eisenman and partly by Hershel Shanks and the Biblical Archaeological Society (BAS).

The websites that Donald provided are excellent for research, but I do not recommend the books that he does (with the exception of Geza Vermes translation of the DSS). The other two books represent a minority view.

In addition to Geza Vermes excellent translation, I would recommend the translation of Florentino Garcia Martinez. Martinez also has a study edition of the DSS in the original Hebrew.

Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited May 12, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 04:06 PM   #4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Ish

A few scholars (particularly R. Eisenman and B. Theiring)
have held the view that these represented Jesus and John
the Baptist, however, their views are largely rejected
because they reject or ignore the paleographic dating of
the MSS.

Also, there is no DSS conspiracy. This was
drummed up by R. Eisenman and partly by Hershel Shanks and
the Biblical Archaeological Society (BAS).


Offa,

I have not read Eisenman. Paleography is relating to writings
of former times. Can you give me a source for making the
statement that Thiering (correct spelling) rejects or
ignores paleographic dating? In her book, Jesus the Man, on
page 20 she explains how Josef Milik incorrectly gave the
date of 75 to 50 BC as the dating for the Teacher of
Righteousness because of his misuse of Paleography.
Dr. Thiering also agrees that there was not a DSS conspiracy.
See; Jesus of the Apocalypse, page 19.


Thanks, Offa


[This message has been edited by offa (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 09:02 PM   #5
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Since no one has mentioned it, Norman Golb's excellent Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?: The Search for the Secret of Qumran is a wonderful exploration of the history and background of the scrolls, and the problem of ascertaining their origin. Golb is one of a growing band of scholars who believe that scrolls were not associated with the site at Qumran, which he argues, on what seems like strong evidence, was a fortress. Instead, the writings were cached by people fleeing the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans.
Good stuff.

Michael
 
Old 05-11-2001, 01:48 AM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post


Offa;
I checked the URL and found the book "out of print".
However, I am familiar with Josephus and have the knowledge
that he was supposed to have gained possession of the books
confiscated at Jerusalem.

Myself, I feel that Qumran was a Scriptorium and that it
became a rebel base housing some kind of kiln used for
making weapons.

I have no doubt that Qumran was the other Jerusalem. I
hypothesize that it was a library and a school.

thanks, offa

 
Old 05-11-2001, 07:54 AM   #7
Richard Carrier
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California, USA
Posts: 338
Lightbulb

Don is right. The scrolls date widely (not all were even found in the same cave, and more are being found as we speak). Each has to be evaluated on its own. Yes, extreme controversies of every kind have arisen over rights to see, translate, or publish the scrolls in any form, but those are quieting down now that BAR violated copyright and published some of them (they paid for it, but it was worth it: the floodgates were opened). No, I don't think "Jesus" per se is mentioned in them. Instead, there is frequent mention of a "Teacher of Righteousness" whose words in many ways resemble the teachings of Jesus, but since the Gospel sayings of Jesus are really not novel in the context of Greco-Judaic culture of the period, it is debatable what one can deduce from this. Likwise, the Dead Sea scrolls do appear to belong mainly to the Essene sect of Judaism, destroyed by 70 AD, but who resembled the resulting Christian sect very, very closely (in every respect that we can measure, they are more Christian than any other Jewish sect).

I will add that everyone here is probably right that there was no "conspiracy" to keep the scrolls from the public. It was just good old fashioned selfishness and slovenliness (a problem that plagues ALL archaeology, all of the time). If people would see these things as public property for academic collaboration, instead of proprietary career-building exercises, things would get done faster and better, and more academic debate and progress would ensue.
Richard Carrier is offline  
Old 05-11-2001, 03:36 PM   #8
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post


Richard Carrier;
Instead, there is frequent mention of a "Teacher of
Righteousness" whose words in many ways resemble the
teachings of Jesus, but since the Gospel sayings of Jesus
are really not novel in the context of Greco-Judaic culture
of the period, it is debatable what one can deduce from
this.


offa; Jesus opponent was John the Baptist and John was
the "Teacher of Righteousness". Jesus was the "Wicked
Priest".

Richard Carrier;
If people would see these things as public
property for academic collaboration, instead of proprietary
career-building exercises, things would get done faster and
better, and more academic debate and progress would ensue.


offa; That is correct. What a bunch of wannabees.

Thanks, offa

 
Old 05-11-2001, 11:07 PM   #9
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Here are some books on the DSS that I would personally recommend:

The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus by Hartmut Stegemann, 1998

(Stegemann's book devotes the better part of chapter three to exposing the many half-truths and incompetent errors in the two books mentioned in an earlier post: The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception and The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered).

The Dead Sea Scrolls Today by James C. VanderKam

(VanderKam is an excellent scholar who has worked directly with the DSS for many years now. This book was my introduction to the DSS. It has no footnotes but is still detailed enough for scholars to use. I heartily recommend it.)

Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by Hershel Shanks

(This book compiles DSS articles written by top-notch scholars such as Frank Moore Cross, Lawrence H. Shiffman, James C. VanderKam, Yigael Yadin, Magen Broshi, Hartmut Stegemann, Otto Betz, among others.)

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins: by Joseph A. Fitzmyer

(This book is a collection of studies on the DSS written by Fitzmyer. A couple of the studies deal with the phrase "Son of God". It is a very technical book and makes use of Hebrew, so this is only for the hard-core layman.)

An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes

(Geza's introduction is almost indispensable. It has a section dealing with the dating of the scrolls. This is great to read before proceding to Vermes' actual translation of the scrolls.)

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes

The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated by Florentino Garcia Martinez

(This was the first English translation of the DSS that I purchased. It is excellent.)

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition

(The Hebrew/Aramaic texts of the DSS. There is no parallel English translation and the Hebrew is unpointed, so caveat emptor.)

The periodical, Near Eastern Archaeology (NEA) recently had an issue (Vol. 64, No. 3, Sept. 2000) devoted to Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Great resource...

If I were you, I'd look into some of these books and you'll begin to understand why R. Eisenmann, B. Thiering, M. Baigent, and R. Leigh are not worth much of your time.

Norman Golb's theory that Qumran was a military fortress is interesting and worth reading, but his theory is not well-accepted in the scholarly community.

Happy reading!
Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited May 12, 2001).]
 
Old 05-12-2001, 03:30 PM   #10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Offa:
Can you give me a source for making the statement that Thiering (correct spelling) rejects or ignores paleographic dating?</font>
Sure. I'll present other's views on her work with the paleographic problems sprinkled in and highlighted.


James C. VanderKam in Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls:

"Few, if any, scholars have been convinced by the arguments adduced by Eisenman, Thiering, or Teicher, but the popular press has sometimes given their sensational views widespread coverage." (p.185)


Hartmut Stegemann in The Library of Qumran:

"A little more serious than Barbara Thiering's treasury of inventions..." (p.30)

"Australian Qumran researcher Barbara Thiering has taken advantage of the sensational success enjoyed by Baigent and Leigh on the book market.... She...attempted to prove that the "Teacher of Righteousness"...was John the Baptist and that..."the Liar" was...Jesus himself. ...All of these identifications become possible - and even then remain absurd - only if one dates the Qumran manuscripts that mention the "Teacher of Righteousness" and "the Liar" 100 - 150 years later than paleography and carbon-14 tests reveal them to be. But Barbara Thiering is no more interested in this evidence than Robert Eisenman is." (pp. 28-29)

"One of the two manuscripts of the older Commentary on Isaiah is from the beginning of the first century B.C. All of the other manuscripts of commentaries on the Prophets were composed between 80 and 30 B.C. It is frivolous, therefore, for authors like Barbara Thiering or Robert Eisenman to misuse these old commentaries as special evidence of events of the time of John the Baptist, Jesus, or early Christianity. All of the contemporary references that these commentaries have to offer are to the century between 170 and 70 B.C. Only the commentaries on the books of the prophets Hosea, Nahum, and Habakkuk include later events, until about 50 B.C." (p. 125)

"The fanciful development...by Barbara Thiering...has now been shown...to represent unfounded speculation." (p.212)


An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes:

"In my opinion these [theories, one of which is B. Thiering's] fail the basic credibility test: these theories do not spring from, but are hoisted on, the texts." (p.17)

B. Thiering's and others theories are mentioned and then commented on as follows: "...it will be obvious to most readers, whether experts or not, that the Qumran writings cannot be mistaken for Christian literature. Nor can the persons of Jesus and other New Testament characters be found in the leading figures alluded to in the Dead Sea manuscripts. If this were not enough, proponents of the Christian hypothesis must further explain away the archaeological data, which point to a pre-Christian (second century BCE) origin of the Qumran sect. The must also disregard the confirmation of palaeographical dating by the radiocarbon tests of 1990-91 and 1994. The Judaeo-Christian theory therefore seems untenable..." (p.115)


The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes:

"Only writers upholding the most unlikely Christian identification of the Community claim to be better informed, but disagree among themselves. J.L. Teicher thought the Teacher was Jesus. For Barbara Thiering Jesus was the Wicked Priest, John the Baptist the Teacher; R.H. Eisenman rejects both and prefers James the Just, 'the brother of the Lord', as the Teacher of Righteousness. Only the sensation-seeking media have been taken in by their theories." (p. 64)


The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins by Joseph A. Fitzmyer:

"...these paleographic datings have recently been supported in an unexpected way by radiocarbon datings, carried out in Zurich in 1991 and in Tucson, Arizona, in 1994. ...It [Accelerator Mass Spectometry (AMS) and radiocarbon analysis] certainly puts to rest the outlandish claims made by some students of the Qumran scrolls who questioned or ignored the paleographic datings." (pp. 6-7) -The footnote (#17) to this sentence mentions various works by Thiering and Eisenman. Footnote #16 gives several articles in the Radiocarbon journal in which the dating of the scrolls can be found.

"Such sayings of Jesus may reflect, indeed, Essene practices or tenets, but there is no way of being certain that these sayings actually referred to the Essenes of Qumran, and there is no evidence that Jesus ever visited the Qumran community center or spent time there. This lack of evidence has to be emphasized in light of the allegations of Barbara Thiering, an Australian interpreter of the Scrolls, who claims that the Essene mode of interpreting Scripture found in some Scrolls supplies the key to decoding the New Testament itself. ...Thiering goes so far as to maintain that Jesus was born at Qumran, crucified at Qumran, secretly revived at the Dead Sea, and eventually wed to a woman bishop, from whom he had children and with whom he lived to a ripe old age. All of which is sheer "hokum" to borrow the word that Time magazine used of her thesis." (pp.22-23) - Footnote #15 lists various scholarly articles that critique Thiering's theories.

"The claim that the Scrolls are Jewish Christian documents, closely related to early stages of Christian history, is highly exaggerated and simply wrong. They are Jewish texts, and the teachings in them are Jewish to the hilt. Now that the dust has settled on this issue, one sees that Eisenman's claim has proved to be only a distraction. As a result, the claims of Thiering and Eisenman cannot be taken seriously, even when one studies the impact of this important discovery on the study of the New Testament." (p.27)

--------------
The following exerpts are from the periodical Near Eastern Archaeology (NEA) (Vol 63 No 3) entitled Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls...
--------------

Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Christian? by Erik W. Larson:

"If Robert Eisenman's views sound a little strange, Barbara Thiring has passed from the strange to the bizarre." (p.170)

"Thiering claims that the gospels use the pesher technique, she actually muddles the issue. The pesharim...follow a specific pattern in which a part of Scripture is quoted and then is followed by the statement "its interpretation is..." The gospels clearly do not follow this pattern, though they do quote Scripture from time to time. More important, the authors of the pesharim view the Bible as written in a kind of code that they now explain in clear fashion for the first time. But according to Thiering, the gospel writers are not giving interpretation, or pesher, they are rather writing the code. Indeed, it is Thiering herself who now becomes the "pesherist" explaining the true meaning of the New Testament for the first time." (p. 171) -That pesher stuff is specifically for you, Offa. This is what I think you didn't understand when reading Thiering's ideas about the concept of a pesher.

"Although Eisenman has tried to dispute the accuracy of the palaeographers' dating, recent carbon 14 dating tests have confirmed the accuracy of their work. The end result of all of this is to make a first century date for the Teacher of Righteousness impossible." (p.169) -This also works against Thiering's theories.

"Finally, the amount of sheer fabrication in Thiering's work is truly incredible. Things such as the baptism of Gentiles in salt water, hauling them up onto boats, and walking along jetties find no substantiation whatsoever in the Scrolls or anywhere else. In the end, both of these theories [Eisenman's and Thiering's] can only be said to be more clever than convincing." (p.171)

----------

I could present even more diverse views, but my fingers are wearing out. The sources I list go into much more detail in debunking these imaginative theories than what I have presented here. They are worth the read if you have bought into Eisenman or Thiering.

Ish
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:43 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.