Dead Sea Scrolls


One of the most significant Biblical archaeological discoveries is the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“The discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a remote Judean Desert cave in 1947 is widely considered the greatest archaeological event of the twentieth century.”

“Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is among the more important finds in the history of modern archaeology.”

This discovery affirms the reliability of the transmission of the Old Testament. Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one could argue the Old Testament could’ve been corrupted with transmission errors since the oldest copy in existence was the Leningrad Codex, which dated to around 1008 AD.

“At one time, scholars imagined the Masoretic Text (our earliest Hebrew manuscript of the Bible before the Scrolls’ discovery) to be riddled with scribal errors and editorial changes.”

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls pushes the oldest text of the Hebrew Bible back over a thousand years.

“Today scholarly opinion regarding the time span and background of the Dead Sea Scrolls is anchored in historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence, corroborated firmly by carbon 14-datings. Some manuscripts were written and copied in the third century B.C.E., but the bulk of the material, particularly the texts that reflect on a sectarian community, are originals or copies from the first century B.C.E.; a number of texts date from as late as the years preceding the destruction of the site in 68 C.E. at the hands of the Roman legions.” … ea-scrolls

Comparison of the text between the Masoretic and the Dead Sea Scrolls show strong stability, even after a period of a thousand years of copying. It refutes the claim the Hebrew scripture has been riddled with transmission errors that would make the text unreliable.

“the differences between the biblical texts found at Qumran and the MT only rarely affect the meaning of a passage—such as differences in spelling or the addition or subtraction of a conjunction. This suggests that the greatest care was taken by the scribes who copied the Scriptures.”

“the scrolls did not utterly transform our image of the original Hebrew Bible text. Indeed, one of the most important contributions of the scrolls is that they have demonstrated the relative stability of the Masoretic text.” … a-scrolls/

“The discovery demonstrated the unusual accuracy of transmission over a thousand-year period, rendering it reasonable to believe that current Old Testament texts are reliable copies of the original works.”

“Comparative studies reveal word-for-word identity in 95 percent of the text. Minor variants consist mostly of slips of the pen or spelling. Only 13 small changes were discovered in the entire Dead Sea Scrolls copy of Isaiah, eight of which were known from other-ancient sources. After 1,000 years of copying, there were no changes in meaning and almost no changes in wording” … centuries/

“It’s true that there are differences between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text—the Hebrew manuscript on which our modern Old Testament is based. Some of these are relatively insignificant, such as differences in spelling or the height of Goliath (the Dead Sea Scrolls say he was 6’6”, the Masoretic text says he was over nine feet tall). Some are more significant, such as one scroll that provides an explanation as to why God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, which makes that story look more like the book of Job. There are also additional psalms attributed to David and Daniel, and more prophecies from Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel. Despite these textual variants and significant differences, the similarities in both ancient and more modern texts actually prove that the transmission of Scripture over the ages has been remarkably accurate.” … a-scrolls/

“Fragments of every book of the Hebrew Bible (except the Book of Esther) were found in the Qumran caves, the most famous of the Dead Sea Scrolls sites. Remarkably, some of these ancient copies are identical to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible that is used today. Other copies preserve differences in the text, which was in the process of standardisation.”

“Many biblical manuscripts closely resemble the Masoretic Text, the accepted text of the Hebrew Bible from the second half of the first millennium ce until today. This similarity is quite remarkable, considering that the Qumran Scrolls are over a thousand years older than previously identified biblical manuscripts.” … troduction

You can view the Dead Sea Scrolls at: