By JW Insider
I discovered something today that surprised me greatly, even though it should not have surprised me at all.
This post could have gone in the Jewish section or a Controversial Post section, but I chose to put it here because, for me, it concerns my beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and our recent reading of Isaiah. I base this discussion on a principle found in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, although Paul at the time was specifically concerned with a different subject:
(2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) . . .we ask you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us. . .
When I left Bethel, I had an opportunity to go to college. My work at Bethel had included picking up some valuable skills for study and research at libraries at Bethel and around NYC. Also, I was starting to pick up some Hebrew and wanted to learn more. I took a part-time job as an assistant editor and illustrator for a University publisher. This was the perfect job that became a kind of continuation of Bethel, and also allowed me to pioneer and to be on campus so that there would not be any push-back if I decided to attend college full-time. I took Computer Science as a major, but also took 8 semesters of Hebrew for 4 years. One of my reasons was because I had a strong interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I thoroughly enjoyed learning Hebrew, because much of the text used as a basis for learning was the Hebrew Bible itself. But after graduation in 1985 I got more heavily involved in congregation responsibilities, my first son was about to be born (1986) and the only jobs I could get in computer science were full time jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, then A D Little, Cambridge [NYC account for NYC property owners]).
However, during the time I was studying the "Dead Sea Scrolls" I became suspicious that so many of them matched the LXX (Septuagint), but that some (Isaiah scrolls in particular) were touted to be so much closer to the MT (Masoretic Text). I was suspicious of quite a few more things, too. This made me wonder if some of these scrolls had not been all buried prior to 70 C.E. What if some of them were written or "edited" from, say 400 or 500 C.E, a time closer to when the MT became finalized [900 C.E.].?
But no one else seemed to talk about these issues and anomalies. Every time I saw one mentioned, no one ever dealt with more than one single issue, with a potential explanation for it, and this gives the impression that the overall set of anomalies is not so serious.
However, this morning I got up at 3am and decided to start taking these questions seriously, after dropping them for 30 years. I'm talking about dozens of research resources. I'm not done yet, of course, but I did find one simple overview that only touches on some of the issues lightly. This will give about the quickest idea of what most of those issues and anomalies are.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The issues mentioned here are quoted from the article linked above, written by Neil Altman.
a series of marginal scroll markings that have now been identified as being Chinese symbols, probably from a period corresponding to the West's Middle Ages. About 800 A.D., writes Charles Pfeifer in his book, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible," "the Nestorian Patriarch Timotheus I wrote a letter to Sergius, the Metropolitan of Elam, in which he described the discovery of a large number of Hebrew manuscripts in a cave near Jericho," a discovery also cited by John Allegro in his account of the scrolls. The eventual disposition of these manuscripts is not known. Many scrolls were discovered not by archeologists, but by Bedouins, and passed through the hands of numerous people -- shady antiquities dealers and local priests as well the Bedouins -- before scholars were able to purchase them. This is the case with both the Order of the Community and the Isaiah scrolls. The discovery of codices in one of the caves; codices are manuscripts with pages written on both sides, and came into use in the 2nd Century A.D. The presence in the caves of lamps from the 3rd Century A.D.; while this does not directly affect the scrolls, it opens the caves to later entry. The use in the scrolls of consonants to replace vowels to assist pronunciation, as Solomon Zeitlin pointed out years ago, along with the use of final forms of Hebrew letters, suggests a late date. The discovery at Qumran of Arabic and Byzantine coins, which raises questions about the use of the site after its apparent abandonment in 68 A.D. A reference in one of the scrolls to the koshering of fish; though Jews supposedly wrote this document, Jews have never ritually prepared fish. The apparent use on the so-called "Copper Scroll" of both upper- and lower-case Greek letters suggests a late date for this curious finding, as does what I believe to be the presence of anachronistic script. The possible presence of Arabic and Roman numerals raises further doubts about the history of this very unusual metal document.