The Dead Sea Scrolls are a series of complete and incomplete scrolls containing biblical literature, as well as some other writings that have not been identified as parallels to any biblical books. Found in Qumran, located in the Judean Desert, these scrolls have been a controversial topic in an archeological sense as well as in a religious aspect. Apparently, the scrolls were copied from other scrolls and then stored in caves near the place that they are assumed to have been written. There’s been a lot of speculation as to the true origin of the scrolls, but common opinion has it that they were copied at Qumran, a settlement near the site that they were found, and then were stored in nearby caves surrounding the settlement.
Some of the contents of the scrolls, as mentioned above, had never been seen before in the archeological or religious communities. Being so, much skepticism concerning the scrolls, their meaning, their true origin and their authors has arisen. Of course, not all of these topics can be tackled at once and surely not all of the questions can be answered, especially because there is no proof of their true origin or their true authors, but certainly one can attempt to enlighten others with the hardships that are faced, even now, by the scribes who wrote them. In viewing the living conditions during the time that the scrolls were written and then comparing the conditions to those of today, one will have a much deeper understanding of what “hardship” means in the scribal world. Based on this comparison and a near-complete list of typical errors that plague current and ancient authors, one will not only see the types of difficulties involved with replication, but will also realize through doubt and reason that using these scrolls as a source of biblical facts is a hazardous idea.
A scribe’s task may seem easy to some, yet when one actually takes a look at the detail and specificity that is put into their work, one can see that a scribe’s job is probably just as easy as it is for a two-year old to color within the lines of a picture in their coloring book. Today, with the use of modern technology and well trained professionals, it would be safe to say that simple copying of books and literature is not exactly easy, but is definitely a task that is relatively straightforward and achievable, with little or no room for mistakes. We have scanners...
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...rated mid-word so that they would be viewed as two individual letters rather than just the one, the Mem, again, the same consequences follow. These kinds of typos are so easy to do yet they are very hard to detect.
Given the vast array of situations and obstacles that a scribe in ancient times had to deal with, it seems to be a bit ludicrous to place ones beliefs in the hands of a scribe and/or scholar that is unknown. The above obstacles could easily have impaired the scribe’s ability to copy the scrolls correctly. When the Septuagint was completed, it was known who assisted in the translation and the copying as well as the time that it was copied, making it easier to visualize what working conditions were like. The Septuagint was accepted because of this factor.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls’ case, however, the author is unknown and the working conditions do not seem promising. Speculation only leads to doubt in this case. Use of the scrolls alone in biblical study would be hazardous to the religious and non-religious communities alike due to the fact that the scrolls do not exemplify uniformity and do not adhere completely to the texts that religions all around the world use today.
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