TVR – Israel-Haifa, Cezarea, Masada, Qumran, casa Bunului Samaritean, Jaffa

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TVR – Israel-Haifa, Cezarea, Masada, Qumran, casa Bunului Samaritean, Jaffa

Haifa zilelor noastre este precum o frontiera asezata la Nord de Israel. O distanta aproape egala ii desparte pe localnicii  de aici de Damasc sau de Beirut. Haifa te invita la Nord de Israel, la tarm de Mediterana intr-un spatiu al contrastelor intre vechi si nou- contraste care nu deranjaeaza. Aici poti descoperi valente reale ale turismului Israelian. Loc unde prorocul Ilie s-a rugat, precum si gradinile templului Bahai pe muntele Carmel sunt doua dintre importantele repere ale orasului Haifa.

Minutul 7:00 Cezareea – Destinul de punte intre Europa, Asia si Africa. In Imperiul Roman, aici a fost capitala administrativa a provinciei Iudeea. Cezarea este singurul loc in Israel unde a fost gasita o mentiune scrisa despre Pilat din Pont. Demnitarul roman care a consimtit crucificarea de pe Golgota era amintit doar in Scripturile sacre inainte de sapaturile arheologice  desfasurate aici intre anii 1950-1960. […] Cezarea era in timpul erei crestine precum Alexandria in era Egiptului. Centru al gandirii filosofice, mai ales teologice, orasul adapostea o biblioteca cu peste 30.000 de manuscrise. In acest loc a studiat Grigore de Nyssa, Vasile cel Mare, Ieronim, toti sfinti ai bisericii crestine. Portul Cezarea era cel mai mare vad comercial de pe coasta Estica a Mediteranei. Nod al culturii si civilizatiei, Cezarea, poarta indubitabil marca inregistrata a Israelului. [..]

Pornind de la o mare, o alta mare te intampina dincolo de pustiul Iudeii. Dupa ce ai pasit multi km pe fundul oceanelor din urma cu multi ani, Marea Moarta, cel mai adanc loc de pe pamant in care poti pasi pe uscat. Intr-un asemenea loc se simte invaluirea aspra  si intepatoare a uscatului si a caldurii care in mod paradoxal invioreaza in loc de a toropi. Si, purtat ca pe niste unduiri de dune, se trece pragul catre lumi de odinioara.

Masada (la min 11:00) este precum o efigie. …. Urmeaza Masada,

Qumran (la minutul 15) Qumran inseamna manuscrisele descoperite la intamplare de beduinul Muhamad el Dib, care isi cauta o capra pierduta prin vaile inguste de aici. Mostenirea universal pecetluita in memoria colectiva, drept Manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta, este legata de acest spatiu. In timpul si in vremurile pentru care a ajuns sa fie recunoscut ca ansamblu cu menire extraordinara, Qumranul era locuit de Esenieni. In comunitatea de la Qumran, isi duceau traiul cca. 60-70 de persoane. Insa, in tara, se considera ca existau aprox. de adepti ai acestui filon pe spiritualitate. Intr-o zi de iunie a anului ’68, A.H. contigentul roman a ajuns pe malurile Marii Moarte, au observat colonia si au cucerit-o fara efort. Esenienii au reusit sa ascunda in graba, in interiorul a catorva pesteri situate in apropiere, cele aproape 1.000 e carti pe care le adunasera in biblioteca lor. Putin dupa aceea, mureau cu totii sub armele legiunii romane in timp ce marea editura qumranica disparea incendiata si rasa de pe pamant prin violenta cuceritorului si uzurpatorului.

Desertul Iudeii (min 16) – Formatiuni stancoase pitoresti, vai cu labirintice ascunzisuri, figurine simbolice sapate de imbratisarea vanturilor pustiei cu piatra, o simfonie a culorilor si a formelor care arata la fiecare pas o noua lume, aceasta este o definitie mai mult decat plastica a desertului muntos al Iudeii. Desertul Iudeii, mai multe lanturi de munti care se intind intre Iordan si Marea Moarta si zonele inalte ale Ierusalimului. De aici si expresia „a te urca la Ierusalim”, pentru ca de la Marea Moarta si pana la Ierusalim, este o ascensiune de aprox. 1.200m. Avand in vedere ca Marea Moarta se afla la mai bine de 300 m sub nivelul oceanului planetar. Ori, desertul Iudeii, aceasta zona lipsita de viata, de fapt, fremata de viata. Era legatura esentiala intre partea de Nord a Tarii Sfinte si Ierusalim. De fapt, intre Galileea si Ierusalim, se mergea prin desertul Iudeii. Mai tarziu, in desertul Iudeii, s-au asezat Ieremitii. Iar, multe dintre aceste vai sunt popasuri pentru cei care au reusit sa infiinteze manastiri. Desertul poate fi taram al fagaduintei pe care il strabati, intalnind promisiuni nebanuite, dar plamadite din vise, visate sau nevisate. Locuri, ce aidoma mirajului, pot ramane nevazute si necunoscute, daca nu te opresti in momentul potrivit si la locul potrivit ca sa le distingi in cromatica unei linisti aproape celeste, cum numai in tara de dincolo de inchipuire le poti intalni.

Casa Bunului Samaritean (min. 19) Intre Ierihonul si Ierusalimul zilelor noastre, putem gasi casa Bunului Samaritean. Un episod biblic ne aminteste de pilda Bunului Samaritean. Insa acum, aceasta casa, acest han de odinioara este valorizat in alt fel. Un popas la ceea ce este in zilele noastre denumit generic „Hanul Bunului Samaritean”,  nu inseamna oprirea la un monument legat de timpurile biblice. Insa, inseamna intalnirea cu un samaritean metaforic, care asemenea magilor, a adunat aici daruri. Gasim stranse, in aceasta raspantie care este de fapt un muzeu, unele dintre cele mai importante marturii arheologice ale Israelului din diferite perioade istorice si religioase. Muzeul este si un sit arheologic si se afla in apropiere de asezarea Ma’ale Adumim, intre Ierusalim si Ierihon, fiind singurul spatiu expozitional dedicat mozaicurilor din Israel si unul dintre cele trei din lume care expun exclusiv asemenea fauriri ale mainilor onului. […]

Jaffa (min 21) – Atat cat ne-am preumblat intre doua mari, una mai inalta decat cealalta, si pe fund de mare- astazi munte, am putut invata ca lumea nu este doar in lung si in lat, ci si in adanc. Atat la propriu, cat si la figurat. Reintalnirea cu tarmul Mediteraniei, se face in chip de inscriptie trecatoare- in limba romana, la Jaffa. Portul, Orasul Vechi, tarmul marii, piata de vechituri si antichitati. Restaurante primitoare  unde se poate manca si traditionalul peste al sfantului Petru, plimbari pe inserat, un soi de pace mirifica ce te cheama necontenit spre stradute intortochiate, fac din Jaffa un veritabil loc de preumblare profana, dar si de pelerinaj in acelasi timp.  In ebraica, Jaffa inseamna si frumusete, dar si frumos. Orisontul nostru cel de toate zilele, zamislit uneori din aspiratii si impliniri, alteori din pelegrinari reale, se schimba permanent. In unele locuri, abia il zaresti. In alte locuri, il intuiesti sau chiar pasesti peste el. …

Peşterile din Qumran de la Marea Moartă: S-a descoperit peştera nr. 12

Qumran, pestera nr.4 unde au fost descoperite 90% din manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta. Photo Wikipedia

Qumran, pestera nr.4 unde au fost descoperite 90% din manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta. Photo Wikipedia

Arheologii de la  Universitatea Ebraică au găsit la Marea Moartă, a doisprezecea  peșteră cu manuscrise pe suluri de piele.

„Această excavare captivantă, este cea mai aproape, din ultimii 60 de ani, la care am ajuns să descoperim noi suluri la Marea Moartă”, spune un cercetător, potrivit Israel National News.

Excavări într-o peșteră de pe stânci la vest de Qumran, în apropiere de țărmul nord-vestic al Mării Moarte, dovedesc că sulurile din perioada celui de-al doilea Templu au fost ascunse în peșteră, și au fost jefuite de beduini în mijlocul secolului trecut. Odată cu descoperirea peșterii, oamenii de știință sugerează că ar trebui să fie numerotată ca Peștera 12.

Descoperirea surprinzătoare, care reprezintă o piatră de hotar a cercetărilor în curs, de la  Marea Moartă , a fost realizată de Dr. Oren Gutfeld si Ahiad Ovadia de la Universitatea Ebraică de la  Institutul de Arheologie din Ierusalim, cu ajutorul Dr. Randall Price și studenți de la Liberty University din Virginia, Statele Unite ale Americii.

Excavatorii sunt primii, în peste 60 de ani, care au descoperit o nouă peșteră de suluri  și pe care să o poată excava într-un mod corespunzător.

Săpăturile sunt sprijinite de către Administrația Civilă din Iudeea și Samaria, de Autoritatea Naturii si Parcurilor din Israel și de Autoritatea pentru Antichități din Israel (IAA), și este o parte a noii „Operation Scroll”(Operatiunea Sul), lansată la IAA de către directorul său general, dl Israel Hasson, care să întreprindă studii sistematice și să excaveze peșterile din deşertul Iudeii.

Excavarea pesterii a relevat faptul că, la un moment dat, conținea suluri de piele. Numeroase borcane  și capace din perioada celui de-al doilea Templu s-au găsit ascunse în nișe, de- a lungul pereților peșterii și adânc în interiorul unui tunel lung din spatele acestuia. Borcanele au fost toate sparte și conținutul lor îndepărtat, iar descoperirea unei perechi de capete de târnăcop de fier din 1950 (stocate în tunel pentru o utilizare ulterioară), dinspre capătul pesterii excavate, dovedește că peștera a fost jefuită.

Pană în prezent, se credea că numai 11 peșteri conțineau suluri. Odată cu descoperirea acestei peșteri, oamenii de știință, sugerează acum că va fi numerotată ca Peștera 12. La fel ca Peștera 8, în care s-au găsit  borcane pentru suluri, dar nu s-au găsit sulurile, aceasta pesteră va primi denumirea Q12 (Q = Qumran, stând în fața numărului, care indică că nu s-au găsit suluri).

„Aceasta este una dintre descoperirile arheologice cele mai interesante si cea mai importantă, din ultimii 60 de ani, în peșterile din Qumran.”

„Deși la sfârșitul zilei nu a fost găsit nici un sul cu manuscrise,  doar o bucată de pergament înfășurat într-un borcan care a fost pregatit pentru scris, constatările indică dincolo de orice îndoială că peștera conținea suluri care au fost furate .”
„Lucrurile găsite includ, borcanele în care au fost ascunse sulurile și învelisul în care erau păstrate, o curea din piele pentru legarea sulurilor, o pânză în  care au fost înfăsurate sulurile, bucăți de piele care conectau fragmentele, și altele.”

Peşterile din Qumran

În anul 1947 un copil arab care avea grijă de oi, s-a rătăcit pe când era aproape de Marea Moartă. Undeva, în rocile golaşe, aproape de ruinele din Qumran, a descoperit o crăpătură prin care s-a strecurat înăuntru. Aceasta părea să fie o intrare într-o peşteră nedescoperită încă.

Înăuntru, copilul a văzut o mulţime de vase de lut iar în ele erau suluri din piele. Cercetătorii au descoperit astfel că acestea erau manuscrise preţioase ascunse acolo în peşteră cu multe secole în urmă pentru a fi bine protejate de timpurile de război.

La început, micul ciobănaş a luat doar un sul cu el arătându-l arheologilor ce lucrau prin apropiere.

De atunci, a început marea vânătoare de manuscrise.

S-au implicat atât comercianţii arabi cât şi oemenii de ştiinţă, astfel că în următorii ani au fost descoperite câteva „biblioteci” secrete în acea regiune. Preţul manuscriselor se totaliza la milioane. Descoperirea senzaţională a manuscriselor de la Marea Moartă a trezit atenţia oamenilor de ştiinţă din lumea întreagă, chiar şi azi continuându-se munca de descifrare a textelor.

Unul din suluri conţine cartea lui Isaia şi este păstrat acum la Ierusalim. Cu ajutorul unui instrument al fizicii nucleare moderne s-a determinat că acest manuscris a fost scris cu aproximativ 70 de ani înainte de naşterea Domnului.

Oamenii de ştiinţă care până atunci susţineau că Biblia este plină de erori au înţeles de atunci că ei erau cei ce au greşit.

Orice cititor al Bibliei era bucuros să afle că ceea ce citea reprezenta adevărul – exactitatea! SURSA – Resurse Crestine  – PESTERILE DIN QUMRAN

Cinci motive pentru care Manuscrisele de la Marea Moartă sunt importante

Qumran, pestera nr.4 unde au fost descoperite 90% din manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta. Photo Wikipedia

Qumran, pestera nr.4 unde au fost descoperite 90% din manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta. Photo Wikipedia

Sulurile au fost descoperite şi copiate în Palestina (Israel). De fapt, ele sunt practic singurele manuscrise care ne-au parvenit din perioada celui de-al Doilea Templu (încheiată în anul 70 d.Hr.). Ar fi chiar posibil – deși nu probabil – că Iisus sau unii dintre urmaşii Săi au folosit unele dintre aceste manuscrise, înainte să fie aduse la Qumran.

Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscrisele de la Marea MoartaSulurile au fost scrise în cele trei limbi ale Scripturii. Din cele 240 de manuscrise biblice de la Qumran, 235 sunt scrise în ebraică şi 5 în greacă, şi dintre cele 701 de pergamente nonbiblice, 548 sunt scrise în ebraică, 137 în limba aramaică, şi 5 în limba greacă. Acest lucru înseamnă că cel puţin unii evrei din perioada celui de-al Doilea Templu vorbeau limba greacă, şi întăreşte ideea că Isus şi de urmaşii Săi ştiau limba greacă.

Manuscrisele biblice confirma şi îmbogățesc Biblia ebraică folosită de către cercetători. Înainte de descoperirea lor, cea mai veche Biblie ebraică era Codex Leningrad (1008 d.Ch.), pe care se bazau cele cele mai multe ediţii folosite de cercetători. Există manuscrise și mai vechi, precum Codex Alep (începutul secolului al X-lea), și fragmente din Genizeh de la Cairo (începând cu secolul al IX) însă acestea nu reproduc integral textul Scripturii. Cel mai vechi manuscris biblic pe care îl avem în prezent este unul dintre cele de la Qumran, mai exact 4QExod-Lev, datând din aproximativ 250 î.Ch., ceea ce îi aduce pe cercetători mult mai aproape de timpul în care textele originale au fost compuse. Două dintre cele mai cunoscute și mai bine conservate suluri sunt Marele Sul al Cărții Isaia (1QIsaa, din 125 î. Ch.) și Marele Sul al Cărții Psalmilor (11QPsa, din 30-50 d.Ch.).

Sulurile cu suficient text pentru a fi identificate au fost împărțite în patru grupuri: proto-masoretic (mai exact, textul consonantic din spatele Textului Masoretic, ce reprezentată de aproximativ 40% din suluri), proto-samaritean (aproximativ 15%), pre-Septuaginta (aproximativ 5%), şi mixt sau neatribuit (aproximativ 40%). Manuscrisele proto-masoretice confirmă, în mod special acurateţea şi vechimea textului ebraic pe care îl putem consulta în ediţiile moderne ale Bibliei.

Cele mai multe dintre sulurile nebiblice aruncă lumină asupra iudaismului din perioada de dinainte de distrugerea celui de-al Doilea Templu. Anumite suluri ne ajută să înțelegem mai bine sectele evreiești precum fariseii, saducheii, şi esenienii. Documente sectare, cum ar fi Statutul Comunitar şi Documentul de la Damasc dezvăluie doctrinele şi învăţăturile esenienilor. Între acestea sunt, de pildă faptul că așteptau doi Mesia diferiți (al lui Aaron şi al lui David), şi alte informații privind stilul lor ascetic de viaţă. Un text fascinant numit Unele Fapte ale Legii (4QMMT) este un manifest care detaliază modul în care interpretau esenienii aproximativ 25 de legi din Pentateuh, un mod foarte diferit de cel al fariseilor.

Unele suluri sporesc înțelegerea noastră cu privire la Iisus și primii creștini.Niciunul dintre manuscrisele de la Qumran nu a fost scris de către sau pentru creştini, dar foarte multe dintre ele sunt relevante pentru înţelegerea contextului istoric al originilor creştine. Cele trei cărţi mai des întâlnite la Qumran sunt Psalmi (36 suluri), Deuteronom (30), şi Isaia (21).

Sulurile nebiblice sunt și ele la fel de pertinente. De exemplu, Apocalipsa mesianică (4Q521) descrie lucrările şi minunile care vor însoţi venirea lui Mesia, într-un limbaj foarte apropiat de cuvintele lui Iisus din Luca 4:18-19 (va aduce o veste bună pentru cei săraci, va elibera pe robi, va deschide ochii orbilor, şi îi va ridica pe cei asupriți), şi în Matei 11:4-5 şi Luca 7:21-22 (orbii vor vedea, morții vor învia și va aduce vești bune celor săraci ). Acest lucru îi ajută pe cititorii Bibliei să înțeleagă că în pasajele menționate Iisus a pretins a fi Mesia din profeție.

În concluzie, Manuscrisele de la Marea Moarta ajută cercetătorii să se apropie mai mult de textele originale ale Vechiului Testament și să contureze contextul istoric și cultural al perioadei inter-testamentale.

CITESTE mai MULT aici –

 

The dead sea scrolls: The greatest archaeological find of all times

How do you know that the Bible you read today is the same one that the apostles wrote? Or much less, what the prophets wrote thousands and thousands of years ago? We’ve all played the gossip story, where you tell a story to one who tells it to another person, who tells it to another person, and then seen the story changed dramatically in just a few generations. And for thousands of years, these writings have been copied, and recopied, and recopied, and so, how do you know that what we have today is anything what they wrote? If you’ve talked to very many people about the Bible, you’ve heard that kind of objection, and hopefully you have a good answer. I think there are a number of ways to approach it. But. I think that’s one of the powerful messages of the dead sea scrolls. Notes from the lecture continue below the video…..

Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East. In this ...

Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East. In this cave the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. In dieser Höhle in Qumran wurden die Schriftrollen gefunden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Patton is the staff Geologist for the Qumran Plateu excavation in Israel, the site that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls some 2,000 years ago. These scrolls, perhaps the most significant archeological discovery of all time, have changed the way we view the Bible. Many have been led to believe that the original text of the Bible has deteriorated over years of copying and recopying. The Dead Sea Schrolls provide a test of that hypothesis, allowing us to compare modern versions with recently discovered manuscripts written over 2,000 years ago. Dr. Patton will take you to the same scene of the original caves where the scrolls were discovered with one of the Bedouins who made the discovery. This is a fascinating story with eternal implications. Dr. Patton has a broad educational background; four years at Florida College, Temple Terrace, FL (Bible); two years at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN (Geology); two years at Indiana Univ./Purdue Univ., Indianapolis, IN (Geology); two years, Pacific School of Graduate Studies. He has worked as Geologist in US, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Cambodia, Israel, and Jordan. Dr. Patton has participated in dinosaur excavations in Colorado, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Canada. He is credited with excavating the longest consecutive dinosaur trail in North America, totaling 157 tracks, extending over 500 feet. He is a member of the Geological Society of America and was a speaker at their 1997 annual convention. Dr. Patton lectures at universities across the United States. He has conducted up to twelve Creation/Evolution Seminaries a year for twenty five years. He has participated in numerous public debates on creation/evolution including radio and TV debates. He has testified three times before Texas State Textbook Committee, Austin, TX. Presently, Dr. Patton is consulting geologist & partner in Mazada Corporation, Dallas, TX. He is a staff geologist of the Creation Evidence Museum, Glen Rose, TX, staff geologist for the Qumran Plateau excavation in Israel.

Notes from the video:

How do you know that the Bible you read today is the same one that the apostles wrote? Or much less, what the prophets wrote thousands and thousands of years ago? We’ve all played the gossip story, where you tell a story to one who tells it to another person, who tells it to another person, and then seen the story changed dramatically in just a few generations. And for thousands of years, these writings have been copied, and recopied, and recopied, and so, how do you know that what we have today is anything what they wrote? If you’ve talked to very many people about the Bible, you’ve heard that kind of objection, and hopefully you have a good answer. I think there are a number of ways to approach it. But. I think that’s one of the powerful messages of the dead sea scrolls.

It is dependable. That is, the Bible that we have today is like what the apostles wrote, and  what the prophets wrote. We understand the objection and the difficulty that people have in grasping that, because everything that we know about in this world goes downhill, it deteriorates. And so, things begin to degenerate, so why not the message that the apostles and the prophets wrote? We understand from Genesis chapter 3, the beginning of this deteriorative process, where a curse was placed on the earth.

Genesis 3:17b-19 “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

This, I think, pervades the whole universe. Isaiah speaks of this effect that we see:

Isaiah 40:7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

But then, he tells us there is an exception to this degenerative process:

Isaiah 40:8 but the word of our God endures forever.” 

That’s different. This is the promise of the word of God, and some say, „Well, but, how do you know this is true? And one of the evidences would be from the dead sea scrolls. But, we need to understand what God’s words promise, and that is that there is an exception. Jesus, Himself says in Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Now, we have radical teachers like Joseph Smith, and like Mohammad, that says the word did pass away and that’s why you have to have new writings and you have to pay attention to what they’ve written, that I believe is very different. But it doesn’t need to be replaced if it’s never passed away.

Peter is quoting from Isaiah in 1 Peter 1, when he says all flesh is like grass:

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.

…and then, Peter goes on to apply that to what the apostles have written, not just the Old Testament Scriptures:

26 And this is the word that was preached to you. (by the apostles)

Now, that’s the promise. In spite of this promise, we are told over and over again that it has degenerated, and even from religious leaders. And that it needs to be replaced. But, in spite of the fact that information that the dead sea scrolls is filtered most of the times through liberal scholars, we have very good, I believe, confirmation of exactly what Isaiah and Jesus, and Peter are promising here. And I think, that’s the primary significance of the dead sea scrolls. Let’s begin talking about the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. photo below – wikipedia – The Psalms Scroll, designated 11Q5, with transcription

The discovery of the dead sea scrolls

When it was first announced, back in the 1940’s, it was declared even in Time magazine, to be the greatest manuscript discovery of all time, by William Albright. He was considered dean of American archaeologists. We’re told that these 2 individuals, along with several others who were with them, teenagers at the time, were near the dead sea. They were shepherding sheep, goats and they had lost one of the goats. They were hunting for it, and in the process of trying to find their long livestock, they found the dead sea scrolls.

At the 6:26 minute mark, Dr. Patton shows a picture of one of the original men who was there when the scrolls were discovered and shows the entrance to the cave, which Dr. Patton visited. He tossed a rock into the opening of the cave to see if the animal was in there, and he heard the sound of breaking pots. As a result, he realized that there were pottery vases inside. He lowered himself inside and found 37 vases, He removed at least 7 of these scrolls and carried them back to his tent, where they stayed for maybe a couple of years, before they realized the significance of it. In talking to some of the ones who were there, and had them in their tents, they were aware they were very important. The parchment on which they were written was unusual, reserved for very important documents, and so they used them for important documents. Like, if they wanted to divorce their wives, they’d take some of the dead sea scrolls and write on the back of it. (photo below wikipedia- Scholar Eleazar Sukenik examining one of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1951).

But, eventually they realized that this was important enough that they can get some money for it. Through a series of intriguing events, they finally wound up with Khalil Eskander Shahin, „Kando”, who lived in Bethlehem at the time. He had a gift antiquity shop in the St. George Hotel. He was a cobbler. He thought, originally that he could use this leather parchment  material, maybe to repair some shoes. It was in excellent condition, sealed in the jars. Eventually, it came to the attention of Professor Eleazer Sukenik of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. And he understood (I am just greatly condensing the story) that these were greatly important documents, and was able to acquire 3 of them. Four of them were purchased by  Metropolitan Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, better known as Mar Samuel of the Syrian Orthodox Church. He, along with John C. Trever verified that these were very ancient documents and Mr. Samuel then advertised them in the Wall Street Journal.  Yigael Yadin, the son of the Professor Eleazer Sukenik,  who had purchased the first three, Yadin, who was also leader of the Israeli underground army (this was before just right before Israel was a state). Jerusalem was under siege by the Arabs. Bethlehem was under total control of the Arabs and Mr. Sukenik had to travel there, against the advice of his son to purchase the first 3. And now, his son goes to Mar Samuel, who has got the other 4 advertised in the Wall Street Journal. The son saw the ad in the paper, and arranged through an intermediary, because he would not have sold them to an Israeli for $250,000. So, all 7 of them came into the possession of Hebrew University and are now housed in the Shrine of the Book. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran in what was then British Mandate Palestine, and since 1947 known as the West Bank.

Let’s think about the site of the dead sea scrolls. The northwest corner of the dead sea, about 15 miles from Jerusalem, right on the edge of the seashore. And this was a renegade community, renegade in terms of  the way orthodox jews thought about it in Jerusalem. They thought the ones in Jerusalem were renegades. I think there’s a sense in which they were both right. We see that the temple, in Jesus’s time, built by Herod, a megalomaniac, trying to outdo Solomon with all of his building program, and as Jesus reveals in the writings of the New Testament, he was very much opposed to a lot of what was going on. They were too, though they had some pretty strange ideas in this community.

The authors of the dead sea scrolls

It was excavated in the 1950’s, and it was a very elaborate complex, probably the dwelling place of about 200 people. They weren’t married, they did not believe sex was appropriate, and somehow they survived for 300 years there, through a heavy recruiting program. They had some other unusual ideas, but they also – this is usually not revealed by the liberal scholars because these were kooks according to them- they also had some very righteous conduct and some excellent insights into the Scriptures. And, there’s some facts about them that provide some excellent evidence for us, in view of the concept of the Scripture that we have today. We can see that they had a very elaborate water system. They had engineered an aqueduct to bring water from the nearby mountains and they had all kinds of washing pools, and ceremonial baths and up to 3 story buildings, with a watchtower and then the scriptorium was at least 2 stories. Because of the insights that we gain, when we look at their attitude towards Scripture and towards the Messiah, they (liberals) want to discredit that and call it just a pottery factory. But, inside the scriptorium, the benches were made to stretch out the scrolls (13:00). The inkwells are found in the ruins. And so, they were stretching out rolls, sewing them together, writing on these benches, and I think it’s pretty obvious what they were doing. Those clay benches that were designed to roll the scrolls out, and to facilitate the copying of them have of course been recovered. Several of them are on display in the Rockefeller museum today, and some of them are in Amman, Jordan. photo below wikipedia – Qumran Scriptorium.

But, this whole community was a worshipping community, considering themselves much more orthodox and righteous, appropriate, loved of God, than any of what was going on in Jerusalem. In 66 A.D. the jews revolted against Rome. At that point, they understood that there were going to be big problems and so, they began to take all of their scrolls and hide them, sealed in jars with beeswax, in the caves. That accounts for their almost miraculous preservation. The intact Isaiah scroll is just beautifully preserved, if somewhat burned around the edges. Two years after they revolted against Rome, the 10th Roman legion marched into this area in 68 A.D. and destroyed it. They completely burned it and did set up camp there and lived there for maybe 25 years. They evidently did not find the scrolls. They were hidden in the caves in the surrounding areas. There are 11 of them that have been found. We were able to go up to those caves, when I was working as a geological consultant for the dig that was going on at that time. One of the original fellows that was there when the scrolls were found went with us to cave 1 and to several other caves and told us (speaking in Arabic through a translator)  of the events and described it for us. His grandson, Yosef, is an accomplished archaeologist and has been able to work with us at the excavations.

Cave 4 is perhaps the most important of the caves. The bedouins found, eventually, over 15,000 fragments. The archaeologists found another 40,000 . Sometimes people say, „Well, they held these things for so long that the were some kind of shenanigans going on. Well, you’ve got over 50,000 fragments. You don’t just put those together easily. They’re from over 400 manuscripts, that is, from this cave. There is a total of over 800 manuscripts from all the caves. And, about 100 from this cave (cave 4) were biblical manuscripts. But, the papyrus on which they were written, and mainly the parchment, if it’s not sealed in the jars, of course does not hold together. It does deteriorate, and it had to be pieced back together. We look inside cave 4, and you see that this is a man made cave. Perhaps, an original cave that they have enlarged and embellished. (at the 18:00 minute mark you see where most of the fragments had been collected from and found).

Dr. Patton’s dig site was on the plateau immediately adjacent to the Qumran area, and was in response to the charge that they (the community) were disconnected to the scrolls, that they were just a pottery factory. We moved a lot of dirt. It is very hot, as it is the lowest spot on earth, about 1300 feet below sea level. Even in December the temperature is near 100 degrees (F), in the summer it’s about 130. Our area was on the eastern portion, which dealt with this pre-Hasmonean circular pit. The Hasmonean era is sometimes called the period between the Old and the New Testaments. We were excavating these cooking pots. One of the things that’s obvious when you excavate remains  is that these people, in the first place, ate very well and they had elaborate clothing and wine pots.

Many people say John the Baptist came from the wilderness and was an Essene, that was here in this Qumran community. But, he didn’t dress that well, he didn’t drink, he didn’t eat that well. Locusts and wild honey is different form the feasts that we saw remains of. I see no connection at all; I see a contrast. These were rather wealthy people. They gave all their money to the community, when they joined up, and they lived well from this communal arrangement. We were looking carefully at the meals which they ceremonially buried in the pottery and found from the DNA analysis of these bones that the DNA matched the sheepskin. So, that the sheep that were used to make the skins on which the scrolls were written, matches the sheep that they were eating. They were of the same family, which refutes the idea that this was just a pottery factory. (22:20)

The contents of the dead sea scrolls

There’s a lot of misinformation. Obviously, it’s not all Scripture. Some 400 of the manuscripts- about half- are these crazy things, these pseudo apocryphal fake scripture. Books that are not inspired, that somehow give the impression of inspiration. And so, what were they doing with this, if they had so much respect for Scripture. Certainly in my library I have some commentary written by some people, that have wrong ideas, which I need to know about, so I can answer. And the fact that you find some of these squirrely books, crazy ideas, is not surprising at all.

200 of the texts are what are called sectarian texts, or manuscripts. This was peculiar to the Qumran community, the Essenes. The Book of Discipline, particularly, gives us insight into how they lived and they baptized 2-3 times a day. They really believed in baptism, and they had the pools all over the place. And they didn’t believe in marriage, and held to some other ideas. But, what was really interesting is their view towards Scripture, that we’ll talk more about. And so, about 1/4 of the library, a greater percentage were of actual manuscripts, or copies of the Scriptures. They would copy and recopy, almost wear out and retire and make new copies. But, they were very devoted religious sect, devoted to studying the Scriptures. 24 copies of Genesis were found.  33 of Deuteronomy. These were the 2 books they seemed to give more emphasis to. Isaiah was popular, 22 fragments, Psalms 39 fragments. And, actually, we find every book of the Old Testament represented, with the exception of Esther, and there is reference to Esther in some of the commentaries which indicate they thought Esther was a part of the canon, what was inspired. I think we’ll find fragments as we continue to search here, of Esther. We find whole or fragmentary copies of every book in the Old Testament, with the exception of Esther, and Esther is referred to.

Perhaps, most significant is the fact that 12 of the scrolls are written in pale0-Hebrew. One of the great challenges to faith is a theory that has overthrown the faith of thousands, some of my close friends, that says that the early books of the Bible were not written by Moses- this documentary hypothesis, as it’s referred to tells us that they were actually written after the exile, made up to look like Israel was ancient to give greater political significance at the time. And they’ve got computer analysis and very technical approaches to try to prove that. 12 of these are written in the Paleo-Hebrew, which is the style that was only used prior to the exile. After the exile, they added vowels, they changed the shapes of the letters, and it’s very easy to see the difference. Now, I don’t think these were actually written before the exile, but, they’re copies of manuscripts that were written, that proves they were in existence prior to the exile. The oldest scroll is the Genesis scroll, written in Paleo-Hebrew, dated to (Wikipedia reports the dates for them, to as early as 325 B.C.) conservatively, 300 B.C. But, in Paleo-Hebrew, which indicates this is a copy  of that which was before the exile. Here is Genesis, a part of the books that they say had to e written after the exile, that we know from the dead sea scrolls, was not (meaning it was written before the exile and pointing to Moses). And that it was in existence before the exile and that documentary hypothesis is exploded for that and several other reasons.

There were a number of interpretive commentaries which I think were very insightful. The liberals don’t like them, because the Essenes believed them and they believed the Bible. The commentaries indicate that. They believed they (the books) were prophetic and that they foresaw the coming of the Messiah, and they understood the Messiah better than the apostles did. They understood, as the New Testament writers did, that this was God’s word. But, they referred to the Messiah as the pierced Messiah. One that would die and would be resurrected. The liberals think that this idea of the Messiah that would die and then be resurrected developed hundreds of years after Christ and that the New Testament was written long after the New Testament times, and that this was just a spin that put on new ideas after they developed for hundreds of years. They got it from the Old Testament prophecies hundreds of years before Christ. This is not an oddball, developed spin on the Old Testament prophecies. This is derived directly from the prophecies, even before Christ arrived.

photo below wikipedia – Great_Isaiah_Scroll Isaiah scroll discovered at Qumran.

The great Isaiah scroll is on display at the Shrine of the Book, at that museum, is the most exciting. If you study Isaiah in seminary today, you won’t study Isaiah. You’ll study Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 2. The liberals have to split this because the second part of Isaiah has prophecies in it. If it were written in the time of Isaiah, it would have to be a supernatural prophecy. And so, they fix that: They split it saying, „Yeah, this is Isaiah 1- it was written at the time of Isaiah, but Isaiah 2 (with the prophecies) had to be written after the exile. That was made up to make it look like prophecy.” And so, when they found the Isaiah scroll, which dates to 300 B.C., and a copy of that which was before the exile, they certainly expected to find 2 different scrolls, because it’s  taught in seminary: Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 2. Not so. All, one complete intact scroll, written in Paleo-Hebrew, altogether 24 feet long. Interestingly, in the margins, you have markings of the Messianic passages, that they understood, 300 years before the Messiah arrived, they understood what this was about. You see why the liberals don’t like it and they don’t tell you about this stuff, but, they tell you about the kooky stuff. (30:40) photo of Mark 6 fragment mentioning Genesareth via bitcoladopini.blogspot.com

Mark 6-52,53 papyrus fragment Dead Sea ScrollsBut, there’s much more. One of the most exciting finds involves Cave #7. And, if I was speaking to a Jewish audience in Jerusalem, you would hear big groans right now. In Cave #7, of course this is from the 1st century, we have different types of manuscripts that are written on papyrus rather than on parchment, the sheepskin, and it is written in Greek, not in Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew. Cave #7 has collapsed. It’s sides and roof have fallen away and 19 small fragments of papyrus were found. They couldn’t read them initially, and as they continued to study, „Oh Yes,” there was a fragment from Exodus, Jeremiah and with computer analysis they could see how these letters would fit into a text. But they couldn’t read the rest of them. 17 of the 19 fragments were unread. The reason was they had to find them in the Old Testament. And they weren’t Old Testament. They were New Testament fragments. One of the most obvious is from Mark, and this particular fragment mentions Genesareth, which is a peculiar word for  the Sea of Galilee, used only in the first century, and so, this helps date it, together with the style of the letters. And this is a quotation from Mark 6:52-53, that mentions Genesareth. The way you do this is you superimpose text over this and you see if it fits (see video at 32:30 minute mark) and even with just a few letters you can identify it.

And, as they continued to analyze it, they found several other passages from Mark 4:28, Mark 6:48, Mark 6:52-53, Mark 12:17, Acts 27:38, and Romans 5:11-12, and 1 Timothy 3:16, 4:1-3 and 2 Peter 1:15, which was one of the more controversial and James were verified. And the real significance is this is necessarily before 68 A.D. when the Romans came in and destroyed all of this. The style of the letters indicates about 58 A.D. Now think about it. Now we have it verified: Jesus said, in Mark 13:2 „Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” And what happened in 70 A.D.? The Romans marched in and the stones were thrown down and the streets were pummeled by the stones. This was in 70 A.D. and it was prophesied before 68 A.D. and we can prove it(68 A.D. was when the Essene community was destroyed by the Romans and the scrolls were placed in caves to be found hundreds of years later). Now you can see why they don’t like that.

The same process that allowed them to verify Ezekiel and Jeremiah , in the papyrus from the Greek, was used to find Mark. And they accept one, but not the other, because it doesn’t fit their theological views. This is ongoing, and you don’t hear a lot about his either. They’re papyrus fragments. Hanan Eshel who is a professor at one of the major universities, there in Israel, in 2005 found a number of fragments from Leviticus. The bedouins actually found it, he in his association with them, learned that they had them. They approached him. He purchased them from the bedouins and took them immediately to the Department of Antiquities, saying, „Here is what we have found.” They fired him from his university position, they imprisoned him for over a year. You’re not supposed to buy this stuff from the bedouins. He is no longer a university professor, but he is working with us in our dig, in our efforts to gain permits. He has identified the cave from which these fragments came. We just finished a dig and we have to publish before we can apply for a new permit.

Let’s summarize the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

  1. They reveal a sect whose approach to Scripture and view of prophecy were similar to the early church. As Paul wrote, when they received this in Thessalonniki, as it was in truth the Word of God. And, as he told the people of Corinth, „If you’re spiritual, you accept this as the commandments of the Lord.” This is the way they viewed Scripture.  
  2. It destroys the idea that the beliefs of the New Testament were developed over hundreds of years, after Christ and the apostles already died, and somewhat this tradition and myth grew. No, that’s not the case at all.
  3. Like John the Baptist, they believed they were in the desert as forerunners of the Messiah and arrival was imminent. They believed that it was time, and it was imminent, as John the Baptist preached.
  4. Like Jesus and the apostles, they believed they were living in the last days of the Old Testament era, and that Scriptures predicted the coming Messiah. A Messiah that was a suffering Messiah and one that would be resurrected. The apostles didn’t get that during the lifetime of Christ. Finally when the Holy Spirit came, they understood it. But, these people understood it ahead of time.

The accuracy of Textual Transmission

One of the lessons that we learn is the meticulous view by which these Scriptures were copied. Interestingly, Josephus comments on this. He says, „We’ve been given practical proof of our reverence for our own Scriptures. For, although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or remove, or to alter a syllable, and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as the decrees of God, to abide by them, and, if need be, cheerfully to die for them.” And that’s reflected in the processes of copying that we see in the records, in the manual of discipline, and in the artifacts that have been excavated. They copied every letter after they finished copying a page. And if the tally did not match, they threw it away and started over. So it wasn’t just copying, and hopefully they got it right. They had ways to check.

We now have with this, manuscripts 1,000 years older than any manuscripts that existed before the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. The oldest that we had before the dead sea scrolls were discovered were the Aleppo Codex. This was the Masoretic text, that dated to 900 A.D., talking about Old Testament text. When the King James Bible was translated, that’s the best we could do. And up until the 1940’s, that’s well over 1000 years (dead sea scrolls are) after the prophets (O T Prophets wrote them). Copying them for 1000 years, it has to produce some changes. It couldn’t be like the original. Well, now then, we have the Isaiah scroll 1000 years earlier, and so we can check. What happened between the 1000 years that intervened between the oldest scrolls and the newer ones? They compare perfectly. They are identical, word for word in 95% of the text. The other 5% involve obvious slips of the pen and spelling mistakes. There is no significant difference at all. And it is one scroll from beginning to end.

When we understand the way they did it, and how it compares there is no longer a reasonable charge. The latest Old Testament book was written 325 B.C. The oldest Dead Sea scrolls was written about 300 B.C. It is less than a generation removed from the original that we have copies today. Although we don’t have the originals, we have what goes right back to it. If you have less than a generation removed from the original, you can’t be worried about that 25 years if you look at the accuracy within 1000 years (to the Dead Sea Scrolls). If you are determined not to believe you have an excuse. I think God does that to those that are not honest. But, to honest, reasonable people it’s not reasonable to think that this is not like the original. We can get to within less than a generation. And then, with the New Testament we have that which was written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses who saw the crucifixion, who saw these events take place. It was written then, probably about 50 A.D., before the prophetic events (Jerusalem) that occurred before 70 A.D., and we can prove that (with the Mark fragment). Now that’s significant.

Our text is dependable. Our view of prophecy is not something that was spinned hundreds of years later, but was inferred directly from the Old Testament, even before Christ. And the New Testament was written during the lifetime of the people who saw it. We have dependable text, and it’s not reasonable to think otherwise. And therefore, we conclude, just exactly what Isaiah concludes, as inspiration from God:

Isaiah 40:7-8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

There’s an exception, and it  has to be a supernatural exception, and it is by God’s promise that the word of God stands forever. And we can defend that proposition and show that it’s unreasonable to deny it.

Related articles

Coming July 12 – Dead Sea Scrolls on display at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibition, „Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures” in Forth Worth, Texas

via The ChristianPost

Visitors at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s exhibition, „Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures” in Forth Worth, Texas, will be able to view the largest Dead Scroll fragments to ever be placed on public display starting July 12.

„The chance to view portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls usually requires an overseas trip to a Near East nation, such as Israel or Jordan,” said Bruce McCoy, the exhibition director.

The elaborate display will include the Genesis 37-38 fragment, which is owned by the Kando family of Bethlehem and is considered to be the largest Dead Sea Scroll segment held by a private collector. Five other major fragments will also be on display, including Genesis 33, 1 Kings 13:22-22, Isaiah 28:23-29, Amos 7:17- 8:1 and Joel 3:9-10.

These fragments account for only the latest additions to the impressive ancient artifact display – passages from Nehemiah, Ezekiel, and Jonah are all also featured, and with the help of the Green Collection and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Southwestern’s total display has reached 21.

In addition, other rare and interesting artifacts that will be present at the MacGorman Performing Arts Center will include the Isaiah scroll, the Habakkuk Commentary, the Manual of Discipline, and the full Copper Scroll, which were all found at the archaeological site in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

read the entire story here at The ChristianPost

Dead Sea Scrolls Found

A.D. 1947

Probably originally hidden during the Roman sack of Jerusalem around 70 A.D., the Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.

Probably originally hidden during the Roman sack of Jerusalem around 70 A.D., the Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
Photograph copyright John C. Trever/The Dead Sea Scroll Foundation/Corbis

The Dead Sea scrolls are one of the greatest discoveries in archaeological history. The ancient texts first came to light in 1947, when a young goat herder stumbled upon some manuscripts hidden in a cave at Khirbat Qumrān—about a dozen miles (19 kilometers) from the ancient West Bank city of Jericho.

The leatherbound papyrus manuscripts include hundreds of distinct works. The predominantly Hebrew writings are a wellspring of information about the Holy Land from the third century B.C. to the second century A.D., including the birth and growth of Christianity and the new faith’s religious and social relationships to Judaism. As the scrolls’ value became known, local Bedouin nomads and archaeologists raced to find more. To date the area has yielded scrolls from 11 different caves.

The finds include a nearly complete Hebrew Old Testament Bible, which has allowed scholars to date the existence of that text to no later than A.D. 70. In addition, the Copper Scroll was a sort of archaeological treasure map guiding scholars to dozens of other hidden texts. And the Temple Scroll contained detailed construction plans for the Temple of Jerusalem.

Many scholars believe that the documents belonged to a Hebrew religious sect that lived in the area during the first century A.D. The scrolls’ guardians may have hidden them from the Romans during the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66 to 70).

Since their discovery the scrolls have often been a source of controversy among scholars. Texts of the more complete documents were published soon after their discovery but most of the scrolls have deteriorated into thousands of tiny fragments. Access to these texts was for many years tightly controlled by a small group of scholars working under the Jordan Department of Antiquities and later, after Israel took over the area in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Israel Antiquities Authority. In 1991 the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, allowed scholars unlimited access to its complete collection of scroll photographs—finally opening the priceless texts to study by the larger community of eager scholars.

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