The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls

shutterstock_4535107In 1947, through what some would call the providence of God, the textual integrity of the Hebrew Scriptures was overwhelmingly confirmed by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  This large collection of miscellaneous scrolls, contains preserved manuscripts from as early as 200 BC.  The collection is sometimes referred to as Qumran– the name of the region near the Dead Sea where the documents were found.  It included very ancient copies of every book of Hebrew scripture, except for Esther as well as a variety of non-biblical writings.  The scrolls were found carefully preserved in the dry, cool environment of desert caves in nearly inaccessible cliffs by the Dead Sea.

What scholars have discovered in studying these manuscripts since 1947, is that, apart from a few very minor discrepancies and the later addition of the Hebrew vowel point system, there had been virtually no change in the text of the Scripture in well over 1,000 years.  Almost overnight, the argument against the manuscript integrity of the Hebrew Scriptures suddenly became much less convincing.

Among students of the Bible, Qumran is often considered the greatest archeological find of the twentieth century.  Because of this and evidence of the meticulous care with which the Jews copied their scriptures,we can have strong confidence that the material of the Hebrew Scriptures has a high degree of accuracy and reliability.

Michael Bogart

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