Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls Coming Online!

Google and the Israeli Antiquities Agency are working to make a free, online, searchable version of the Dead Sea Scrolls!

My comment on the article:

As an amateur scholar of Jewish theology and history, I think this is incredible!

Yes, there is potential for misinterpretation; that's hardly a condition new to any modern religion. More importantly, there's an opportunity for education.

Most people don't realize how many variations exist between the various versions of our holy books. I love how Bart Ehrman describes it in  Misquoting Jesus, saying, with my apologies for misquoting Ehrman, "There are more variations between versions of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament".

When you look at the Old Testament things are a little more difficult, because I can go to Borders and see 20 different Bibles, each with minor differences, on the shelves, but the Torahs will be virtually identical. In Hebrew, at least. Having access to these scrolls will give us something to compare the modern Torah to, and learn more about where it comes from, what it means, and what it was "supposed" to be.

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