Friday, December 01, 2006

The Dead Sea scrolls

While flipping around the TV channels today I stopped briefly on one of our local religious stations. The person preaching was rambling on about the glory of god and how the bible was the word of god (or something like that); to help make his point that the bible was the word of god, he introduced the Dead Sea scrolls. He said that they were 3,000 years old and that scholars had found that they were identical to the modern day bible. In fact, he said, "Every dot over every 'i', every cross of the 't', every comma, and every period is in the exact same place as in the bible in your hand" (quote paraphrased).

There are a few problems with this preacher's statements. The easiest mistake to point out is that he got the date wrong (the scrolls are about 2,000 years old, not 3,000). However, the Dead Sea scrolls are written mostly in Biblical Hebrew (some are in Aramaic). The writing of the Dead Sea scrolls has no vowels. The writing of the Dead Sea scrolls also lacks commas and periods.

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