The Dead Sea Scrolls: And the Personages of Earliest Christian

The Dead Sea Scrolls: And the Personages of Earliest Christian

The Dead Sea Scrolls: And the Personages of Earliest Christian

The Dead Sea Scrolls: And the Personages of Earliest Christian

Synopsis

Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? Paleographical dating has tended to downplay the Scrolls' importance and to distance them from the personages of earliest Christianity, but a carefully worked out theory based on radiocarbon dating and other tests connects Scroll allusions to personages and events in the period from 37 BC to AD 71 and suggests a new view on how and why the Romans crucified Jesus.

Excerpt

I have always been fascinated with the beginnings of Christianity for as long as I can remember. What really happened in the Holy Land in the first century AD? Can we ever know for certain? Or must it remain an unanswerable question that can only come alive by religious faith? When some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in cave 1 in 1947, the air was rife with excitement that they might reveal the answer to us at last. Now, more than fifty years after their initial discovery, the scholarly consensus is rather disappointing. Although the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal more fully the religious ideas and beliefs that paved the way for Christianity, they do not tell us anything about the men who created the Christian faith. So we are told, but is this view correct?

Part I of this study is an attempt to deal more realistically with the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Such a work is desperately needed, because research on the scrolls has been for the most part a continuing process of evasion and distortion in order to lessen their importance and to distance them from the personages of earliest Christianity. This has been accomplished by placing undue reliance in the purported accuracy of paleography and radiocarbon dating and by locating the historical setting from one to two hundred years earlier than the evidence requires.

Paleography is the study of the evolution of a language’s script over time in order to determine the relative dates of documents. It can be useful as an additional verification of dates obtained initially from the internal literary evidence of the scrolls, but it can never be the main determinant for arriving at dates. A carefully worked out theory of the scrolls cannot be discarded solely because it disagrees with the paleographical dating. Radiocarbon dating is a test for determining . . .

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