Monday, June 04, 2007

Dead Sea Scrolls not Jewish

Risa Levitt Kohn, San Diego University, and curator of an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Diego until December 2007 had some interesting things to say recently about Christian and Jewish origins in light of the scrolls:-

Is there any evidence within the scrolls themselves that this community was influenced by Jesus Christ?

There are no New Testament names, people mentioned in the scrolls and there are no New Testament texts in the scrolls, and I think that's another common misunderstanding.

A lot of people confuse the Dead Sea Scrolls with the Nag Hammadi texts, the Gnostic gospels (writings about the teachings of Jesus that are not accepted as part of the standard biblical canon). While they were found about the same time in the 1940s, they're completely different. [The Nag Hammadi texts] were found in Egypt and have a lot to do with Christianity, and [the Dead Sea Scrolls], not so much. So, the answer is no.

The truth is, I wouldn't classify these as Jewish texts, either. Because I would say Judaism, the way we tend to think about it, even early Judaism, is not yet fully crystallized in this period, in the same way that Christianity isn't either. So what we see, and why the scrolls are so interesting, is that we see a period just before Judaism and Christianity, where there are a lot of different ideas floating around -- some of which make their way into Judaism, some of which make their way into Christianity -- but you couldn't call these scrolls one or the other yet. Now, people would probably dispute that with me, but that's what I think.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

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you have a cool blog. Do keep up the good work. I'll be back for more. i live
far from where you live. its nice to be able to see what people from across
the world thinks.

On a related note perhaps you might find the following article interesting.
we are currently doing a series of posts on essenes and their culture and i'll
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Facts on Essene Culture

Warm Regards from the Other Side of the Moon.
Bijoy Cletus - Kerala, India