Today in 379 we spent the day in small groups discussing the problems inherent in utilizing the Dead Sea Scrolls as a primary source for understanding first-century Judaism.
Or rather, we were supposed to.
Instead I ended up in the dumbest group I’ve ever been a part of.
I had a lot of well-thought-out points, mostly about the bias that would be incipient in an Essene tract. This was a radical Jewish sect, far removed from the Temple in Jerusalem and more mainstream Jews. Of course, there is a school of thought that says Christ was probably an Essene, which would explain a lot of interest in these scrolls by Christian scholars as well as Jewish historians.
The rest of the group’s consensus? “Yeah, I think it’s the language barrier.”
Except…there isn’t a language barrier. I mean, yeah, if you handed me a copper fragment written in Aramaic script with Hebrew phonics, I’d have a major problem. But if you handed it to someone who, oh, I don’t know, has devoted their life to learning first-century Aramaic? I’m pretty sure they’re good.
Also one of the guys remarked, “I heard that they, like, think they have the cloth Jesus was buried in?” A girl responded, “Really?” I responded, “The Shroud of Turin?” The guy replied, “I don’t think so.”
Um. I do think so.
(Not that it’s necessarily the actual cloth Christ was buried in.)
That was a really long 75-minutes.