It’s an upper-level class, for God’s sake.

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.)

(But still.)

That was a really long 75-minutes.

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