Excerpt adapted from The Word by Rod Gragg ©2018 by WND Books.
|The yawning mouth of an isolated cave opens to a vista of the Dead Sea in modern Israel. In 1947, a Bedouin goat-herder dared to go inside Qumran Cave 1, and discovered a biblical treasure—the Dead Sea Scrolls. Source: Library of Congress.|
Since their discovery, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the focus of continuous study and debate. “Few documents have been more intensively studied, and, indeed, more recklessly interpreted,” observed Edward M. Blaiklock, a twentieth-century classic and biblical scholar. Critics of Christianity rushed to find ammunition to attack the Bible and the faith. The Dead Sea Scrolls posed “a challenge to the Church far greater than was ever presented by Darwin’s theory of evolution,” proclaimed one critic. However, after more than a half century of investigation—scholarly and otherwise—the Dead Sea Scrolls have instead reinforced the authenticity of the Scriptures. The Old Testament scrolls underscored the credibility of modern English translations based on the Septuagint, the Masoretic texts and other ancient sources. Various minor textual questions were resolved from comparison with the Dead Sea Scroll texts, and understanding of the Old Testament text and the New Testament era were both sharpened. The official commentary from an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls in the U.S. Library of Congress in the twenty-first century aptly summarized their value:
The Dead Sea Scrolls, which date back to the events described in the New Testament, have added to our understanding of the Jewish background of Christianity. The fact that they survived for twenty centuries, that they were found accidentally by Bedouin shepherds, that they are the largest and oldest body of manuscripts relating to the Bible and to the time of Jesus of Nazareth make them a truly remarkable archaeological find.
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