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Thread: Scientists finally read the oldest Biblical text ever found

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    Oops....... mossrose's Avatar
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    Scientists finally read the oldest Biblical text ever found

    Just posting this for interest's sake.

    Scientists have finally been able to read the oldest biblical text ever found.

    The 2,000-year-old scroll has been in the hands of archaeologists for decades. But it hasn’t been possible to read it, since it was too dangerous to open the charred and brittle scroll.

    Scientists have now been able to read it, using special imaging technology that can look into what’s inside. And it has found what was in there: the earliest evidence of a biblical text in its standardised form.

    The passages, which come from the Book of Leviticus, show the first physical evidence of a long-held belief that the Hebrew Bible that’s in use today has is more than 2,000 years old.

    The discovery was announced in an article in Science Advances written by researchers from Kentucky and Jerusalem. It described how the researchers used a tool called “virtual unwrapping”, which provides a 3D digital analysis of an X-ray scan.

    By using that, it was the first time that researchers have been able to read an ancient scroll without actually opening it.

    "You can't imagine the joy in the lab," said Pnina Shor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who participated in the study.

    The digital technology, funded by Google and the U.S. National Science Foundation, is slated to be released to the public as open source software by the end of next year.


    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...-a7323296.html

    The grammar in the article is appalling. I've copied it as it is.
    Last edited by mossrose; 05-28-2019 at 04:53 PM.


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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    Cool.

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    Yeah I read about that. Kinda neat how they can read something that is still rolled up. And burnt!

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Source: article

    In ancient times, many versions of the Hebrew Bible circulated. The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to as early as the 3rd century B.C., featured versions of the text that are radically different than today's Hebrew Bible.

    Scholars have believed the Hebrew Bible in its standard form first came about some 2,000 years ago, but never had physical proof, until now, according to the study. Previously the oldest known fragments of the modern biblical text dated back to the 8th century.

    The text discovered in the charred Ein Gedi scroll is "100 percent identical" to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study.

    © Copyright Original Source



    This appears to be partly gross exaggeration. I have a copy of "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible" and the differences from the Masoretic Text tend to be pretty minor.
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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    This is a really interesting article, and an awesome discovery, but I'm confused about some of the language they're using. For instance, the article headline is "SCIENTISTS FINALLY READ THE OLDEST BIBLICAL TEXT EVER FOUND," which they then date to 2,000 years old. Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but the article then also correctly points out that there are even older texts ("The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to as early as the 3rd century B.C."). There's also the Silver Scrolls from Ketef Hinnom (not mentioned in the article) which dates to as early as the 7th century BC.

    As far as I can determine, from the context of the article, it appears that they're claiming that this is the oldest copy of the Masoretic text specifically, and not the "Oldest Biblical Text Ever". The Masoretic text was largely developed in the Middle Ages, likely as a reaction to Christians using the Septuagint (which was pretty much the only thing most Jews were using up until that time as well), and the desire of Jews wanting to go back to the Hebrew source. Though developed in the Middle Ages, scholars have long suspected that the Masoretes (which the text is named after) were pulling from older copies available to them, and this find seems to confirm that. Most modern Bible translations use a combination of sources which include both the Septuagint, and the Masoretic text.

    So, either I'm missing something completely obvious, or the Independent went with a sensationalized headline (which wouldn't be the first time for them).

    Also, it should be noted that this article is from 2016, so while important, it's not really new news.

    Edit: On further Googling, it looks like the Independant might have gotten the age of the text wrong as well,

    “The scroll was radiocarbon dated using the accelerator mass spectrometry technique,” the archaeologists said. “The test results indicate a probability of 68.2% that the scroll dates between 235–340 CE, and a probability of 88.9% that it dates between 210–390 CE. They allow for a 6.5% probability that the scroll dates to the 2nd century CE.”

    http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/...red-04216.html
    Last edited by Adrift; 05-29-2019 at 07:40 AM.

  7. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Oldest copy of the (particular texts of the) Bible in its standard form. The article might be alluding to a complete set of scrolls (or maybe just the scrolls of the pentateuch - they were recovered from a synagogue's ark) - but there's not enough detail in the article to be sure.
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  9. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    This is a really interesting article, and an awesome discovery, but I'm confused about some of the language they're using. For instance, the article headline is "SCIENTISTS FINALLY READ THE OLDEST BIBLICAL TEXT EVER FOUND," which they then date to 2,000 years old. Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but the article then also correctly points out that there are even older texts ("The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to as early as the 3rd century B.C."). There's also the Silver Scrolls from Ketef Hinnom (not mentioned in the article) which dates to as early as the 7th century BC.

    As far as I can determine, from the context of the article, it appears that they're claiming that this is the oldest copy of the Masoretic text specifically, and not the "Oldest Biblical Text Ever". The Masoretic text was largely developed in the Middle Ages, likely as a reaction to Christians using the Septuagint (which was pretty much the only thing most Jews were using up until that time as well), and the desire of Jews wanting to go back to the Hebrew source. Though developed in the Middle Ages, scholars have long suspected that the Masoretes (which the text is named after) were pulling from older copies available to them, and this find seems to confirm that. Most modern Bible translations use a combination of sources which include both the Septuagint, and the Masoretic text.

    So, either I'm missing something completely obvious, or the Independent went with a sensationalized headline (which wouldn't be the first time for them).

    Also, it should be noted that this article is from 2016, so while important, it's not really new news.

    Edit: On further Googling, it looks like the Independant might have gotten the age of the text wrong as well,

    “The scroll was radiocarbon dated using the accelerator mass spectrometry technique,” the archaeologists said. “The test results indicate a probability of 68.2% that the scroll dates between 235–340 CE, and a probability of 88.9% that it dates between 210–390 CE. They allow for a 6.5% probability that the scroll dates to the 2nd century CE.”

    http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/...red-04216.html
    I wondered about some of that as well. But the technology is interesting.


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  11. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Source: article

    In ancient times, many versions of the Hebrew Bible circulated. The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to as early as the 3rd century B.C., featured versions of the text that are radically different than today's Hebrew Bible.

    Scholars have believed the Hebrew Bible in its standard form first came about some 2,000 years ago, but never had physical proof, until now, according to the study. Previously the oldest known fragments of the modern biblical text dated back to the 8th century.

    The text discovered in the charred Ein Gedi scroll is "100 percent identical" to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study.

    © Copyright Original Source



    This appears to be partly gross exaggeration. I have a copy of "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible" and the differences from the Masoretic Text tend to be pretty minor.
    Yeah, I remember them showing that the dead sea scroll of Isaiah was nearly identical to the manuscripts we have today.

    ---

    With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now had manuscripts that predated the Masoretic Text by about one thousand years. Scholars were anxious to see how the Dead Sea documents would match up with the Masoretic Text. If a significant amount of differences were found, we could conclude that our Old Testament Text had not been well preserved. Critics, along with religious groups such as Muslims and Mormons, often make the claim that the present day Old Testament has been corrupted and is not well preserved. According to these religious groups, this would explain the contradictions between the Old Testament and their religious teachings.

    After years of careful study, it has been concluded that the Dead Sea Scrolls give substantial confirmation that our Old Testament has been accurately preserved. The scrolls were found to be almost identical with the Masoretic text. Hebrew Scholar Millar Burrows writes, “It is a matter of wonder that through something like one thousand years the text underwent so little alteration. As I said in my first article on the scroll, ‘Herein lies its chief importance, supporting the fidelity of the Masoretic tradition.'”{6}

    A significant comparison study was conducted with the Isaiah Scroll written around 100 B.C. that was found among the Dead Sea documents and the book of Isaiah found in the Masoretic text. After much research, scholars found that the two texts were practically identical. Most variants were minor spelling differences, and none affected the meaning of the text.

    One of the most respected Old Testament scholars, the late Gleason Archer, examined the two Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1 and wrote, “Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”{7}

    Despite the thousand year gap, scholars found the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls to be nearly identical. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide valuable evidence that the Old Testament had been accurately and carefully preserved.
    https://probe.org/the-dead-sea-scrolls/

  13. Amen lee_merrill amen'd this post.

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