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Author Topic:   Isaiah and the Dead Sea Scrolls
PaulK
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Message 1 of 204 (198113)
04-10-2005 5:01 PM


Since Faith claims that her arguments on this point have not been fairly addressed I think we need a topic so that she can calmly make her point in a clear and rational fashion.

The original assertion is here

The claim is about the discovery of the Isaiah scroll:


The Isaiah scroll among the Dead Sea scrolls confirms the fact that there haven't been all the changes in the text so often claimed

So which proposed changes does it ACTUALLY rule out ? As was pointed out in the following discussion it isn't even relevant to the allegations of major additions to Isaiah itself. So what are these "charges" that it does refute and who made them ?

Edited by AdminJar to fix link.

This message has been edited by AdminJar, 04-10-2005 03:12 PM

This message has been edited by PaulK, 04-10-2005 05:14 PM


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminJar, posted 04-10-2005 5:18 PM PaulK has responded
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 Message 132 by Faith, posted 04-15-2005 10:45 AM PaulK has responded

    
AdminJar
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Message 2 of 204 (198116)
04-10-2005 5:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
04-10-2005 5:01 PM


I fixed your link (extra space hidden in there) but the spelling is up to you.

Before this is ready for prime time I also think it would be a good idea to lay out exactly what you are claiming. As it is and as it showed in the last thread, you and Faith are just dancing around the topic.

Is the question:

The Bible texts have been altered over the years?

If so, then Isaiah is only one area. But if the question relates to Isaiah itself then the thread can be limited to just Isaiah and not all of the other changes that were made over the centuries.

Can you clarify the scope of your PNT for us?


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 04-10-2005 5:01 PM PaulK has responded

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PaulK
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Posts: 14419
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 3 of 204 (198127)
04-10-2005 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminJar
04-10-2005 5:18 PM


The point to this is not to investigate anything I am claiming - it is about Faith's claims. Since she has already complained about discussion of this being off-topic in other threads it appears that I must start a new thread to get her to back up her assertions.

Since I am not aware of ANY serious proposals of changes to Biblical texts that are ruled out by the Isaiah scroll it seems entirely reasonable to ask Faith to provide examples.

So far as I can tell Faith's response is that it doesn't actually rule out any supposed changed but it is wrong to actually know that, because she hates the scholars who actually study the Bible and find evidence that contradicts her beliefs. If Faith has a real point - as she still claims - she needs to present it and I am offering her an opportunity to do so.


This message is a reply to:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 204 (198128)
04-10-2005 6:22 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Faith
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Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 5 of 204 (198142)
04-10-2005 8:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
04-10-2005 5:01 PM


I would have thought I made the simplest possible statement, nothing that could possibly have led to the confused exchange that followed. This is ALL I said:

The Isaiah scroll among the Dead Sea scrolls confirms the fact that there haven't been all the changes in the text so often claimed, as it is just about identical to the Isaiah text we have today.

quote:
So which proposed changes does it ACTUALLY rule out ? As was pointed out in the following discussion it isn't even relevant to the allegations of major additions to Isaiah itself. So what are these "charges" that it does refute and who made them ?

Where did you get that I was talking about any "PROPOSED" changes? As I reread our exchange it seems clear to me that from the beginning I was talking ONLY about "common accusations" that the Bible has been changed many times over the years SINCE the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here is the entire extremely confusing exchange:

My #163 to Nighttrain.
quote:
The Isaiah scroll among the Dead Sea scrolls confirms the fact that there haven't been all the changes in the text so often claimed, as it is just about identical to the Isaiah text we have today.

Paul K in #164 then decides to challenge that one simple statement.

quote:
Can you explain that ? Which changes in Isaiah are you talking about ? When are they thought to have been made ? And when was the Isaiah scroll written ?

My answer #166:

quote:
I'm talking about the common accusation that the Bible has supposedly been altered over the centuries so that it is no longer the original. The existence of any scroll from that time that has the same text as our text is proof [perhaps I should have said "evidence"]that such accusations are unfounded. The changes are supposed to have been made willy nilly over the centuries by both scribal error and unscrupulous fraudulent rewriting according to the accusers (who fail to grasp that there were so many manuscripts in circulation over the centuries, such discrepancies would have become apparent and documented long before they made up their accusation). The Dead Sea scrolls are considered to be pre-Christian by a hundred to two hundred years or so as I understand it.

Of course the original Isaiah was written by Isaiah some 700 years before Christ and the one found is a copy. What is remarkable about the Dead Sea scrolls is that the conditions of their storage allowed them to be preserved for over two thousand years, while normally such parchments would disintegrate in a few hundred years or so...



But PaulK goes on in #167 with his challenge, apparently referring to changes considered to have been made PREVIOUS to the Isaiah copy in the DSS which was irrelevant to what I had said:

quote:

Your claim that the scroll represents "total proof" is unfounded unless you are familiar with the dates in question. The scroll cannot prove that Isaiah was not changed before the scroll was written.

At this point I'm about to tear out my hair. Where on earth is he getting the idea I could possibly have suggested ANYTHING concerning the period BEFORE THE SCROLL WAS WRITTEN? So he goes on with this totally irrelevant information:

quote:
Isaiah is thought to have had one or two major additions since the original writing, the first in the 6th Century BC and the possible second in the 5th Century BC. The Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea is dated to the 2nd Century BC and so cannot disprove either.I stress this point to indicate that you badly need to learn how to make a rational assessment of the evidence instead of jumping to conclusions without considering key facts. In this case the key facts are the dates I asked for - they rule out any possibility that the scroll can be taken as the proof you say it is. Yet you were happy to make that claim without even knowing what the dates were - even after being asked for them.

The "dates" PaulK is asking for are IRRELEVANT because they PRECEDE the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But he doesn't mind haranguing me about this total irrelevancy and there doesn't seem to be anything I can say to get him to recognize the meaning of my original statement.

My answer #170 TRIES to set the record straight AGAIN:

quote:
Your claim that the scroll represents "total proof" is unfounded unless you are familiar with the dates in question. The scroll cannot prove that Isaiah was not changed before the scroll was written.
=======
I did not claim it did, now did I? I said the fact that we have the same text that was found from a couple hundred years BC shows that it has not changed since then as so many debunker types like to claim. And I don't recall using the term "total proof" and putting it in quotes as if I did is very bad forum form...

quote:
: Isaiah is thought to have had one or two major additions since the original writing, the first in the 6th Century BC and the possible second in the 5th Century BC. The Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea is dated to the 2nd Century BC and so cannot disprove either.
=========
Again, I did not claim it did ...HOWEVER, I suspect you are gleaning your information from sources I consider bogus.

quote:
: I stress this point to indicate that you badly need to learn how to make a rational assessment of the evidence instead of jumping to conclusions without considering key facts.
========
Let me see. Since you have misrepresented my post so tendentiously, and are now rebuking me for your own straw man reconstruction, and have been pursuing this off-topic series despite many mentions of it, I would suggest that if anyone needs to learn to make a rational assessment of anything it is you.

quote:
quote: In this case the key facts are the dates I asked for - they rule out any possibility that the scroll can be taken as the proof you say it is. Yet you were happy to make that claim without even knowing what the dates were - even after being asked for them.
==========
My dear Mr. Paul K. My claim was that there have not been any changes SINCE THE DEAD SEA SCROLL. What is your problem? As for proof back before that I would refer you to the knowledge of the work habits of the scribes of Israel, known for their obsessional methods of copying and near-superstitious concern never to tamper with scripture. And I would suggest that reliance on recent academic as opposed to Church-authorized Bible scholarship is the refuge of a fool.

His #175 doesn't skip a beat, acknowledges not ONE thing in my attempts at correction and goes on and on with this notion of his own about the pre-DDS period:

quote:
Yes, actually you did claim that the scroll was proof that the Bible had not changed. So I point ouu that it has nothing to do with the major changes that Biblical Scholars beleive have occurred in the book of Isaiah.As for your claim that I ma using sources you consider bogus I cannot think what you are referring to. Sources which allege that addiitons to Isaiah are only relevent to my point in so far as they describe those allegations. Even if you reject the allegatiosn you cannot deny the validity of using thsoe sources. Or is it the dating of the scroll you object to ? If so then what source do you consider valid and what date do they propose and on what basis ?As to your assertion of "misrepresentation" are you really claiming that when you said:

"I'm talking about the common accusation that the Bible has supposedly been altered over the centuries so that it is no longer the original, not any particular changes, just a general accusation. The existence of any scroll from that time that has the same text as our text is proof that such accusations are unfounded."

You actually did NOT mean to include the major changes that are actually alleged to have ocurred to the very book in question ? I suppose next you'll say that you did not actually mean the WHOLE Bible, just Isaiah. Because that is every bit as obvious. Especially when we consider that some NT texts were probably not even written until later and no NT texts have been definitely found at Qumran.But even then the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that there have been changes in the Bible - variants of several books have been found there. Including Isaiah.Finally there is nothing wrong with accepting modern scholarship over ideas with nothing to recommend them but antiquity. Indeed it would be foolish for anyone who really wished to understand the Bible to neglect mainstream Bible scholarship.


His 199

quote:
So you say that I should be banned because you don't know what you are talking about. What an interesting idea.Instead of ranting and raving you could simply have admitted that the scroll of Isaiah has very little to tell us and that you were wrong to tout it so highly. After all you don't know of a single proposed change to the Bible that the scroll DOES rule out.

At the least you were unaware of the fact that the alleged major changes to Isaiah are dated to long before the scroll was written - to the point where you didn't even feel the need to restrict your calim of "proof" to changes later than that date - even after it has been mentioned.And if that wasn't enough your insistance that Bibe scholars are "BLITHERING IDIOTS" for NOT accepting that the scroll disproves the claim that the Bible has changed at all badly undermines your claim that you meant the date restriction at all.BTW there is no need to insult me over the point that NT documents are not found at Qumran - firstly because you are wrong to say there is no overlap in the dates, but more importantly because the point is that the Isaiah scroll is NOT proof that there have been no changes to NT documents, nor is there any other document at Qumran that supports such idea.Oh by the way if you hate being shown to be wrong so much that you respond with such anger and venom it would be much better for you to open your mind and learn what you are talking about. If you are going to throw tantrums whenever your ignorance and irrationality are exposed it would be far better for you to respect the limits of your knowledge and learn to argue rationally.


I don't have the patience to try to point out the misunderstandings here. I hope they are obvious. If not, maybe we can comb through them later.

Meanwhile, I will TRY to back up what I WAS saying:

I have been challenged with this "common accusation" as I put it on other forums, and would have assumed it's also a common challenge to believers at this forum, although I haven't run across it here yet. I guess if I could track down examples of these common accusations it would help since apparently you haven't run across any yourself, but here are some ANSWERS to the charge, that Christians often feel obliged to supply, that may make it clear that the accusation IS pretty common:

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/bibleorg.html

http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn053/biblepreserved.htm

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/8449/two.html

From the above link:
Has the text of the Bible Been Altered Over the Centuries?
One last test investigates whether or not the Bible has been corrupted down through the ages in its transmission. If it has been significantly changed, then it would not be relevant to us since inspiration does not extend to any manuscript copy. How can we know whether or not the Bible we have today is the same as what was written?

This question is answered by the bibliographical test. This test looks at the number of existing manuscript copies there are, their agreement with each other concerning the text that they are copies of, and the time interval between these copies and the date of the original writing. All scholars agree that this test has conclusively established that the biblical text which we have now is nearly identical to what was originally recorded (for both Old and New Testaments).

And concerning the lack of substantive changes between the DSS Isaiah and today's Isaiah:

A popular account of the fact that the Isaiah scroll found in the DSS is virtually identical to the one we read today:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/tc/7r4/7r4036.html

Take the Isaiah scroll. Until 1947, the oldest manuscript of Isaiah was a Masoretic text that had been copied in the late 900s. Although any book or scroll produced 1,000 years ago is very old, the Masoretic text is actually very "young" when you consider the prophet Isaiah lived 1,600 years before that (around 700 B.C.). This means it had been recopied many times during that interim, with plenty of opportunity for errors to be introduced. With the Qumran Isaiah text, 1,000 years older than the Masoretic text, how accurate was the later text? How significant was "the telephone game" problem?

"Despite the fact that the Isaiah scroll was about a thousand years older than the Masoretic version of Isaiah," says James VanderKam of the University of Notre Dame, "the two were nearly identical except for small details that rarely affected the meaning of the text." In other words, a word like "over" in one text might read "above" in the othernot the kind of difference that rocks your faith in the reliability of the Bible texts. Though the Isaiah text had been "whispered" down the telephone line through generations of scribes, God had carefully protected his Word.

A bit of a longer more scholarly account:

http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/qum-1.htm

4. The gaps in the text caused by disintegration of the leather on which the text was written are called "lacunae" In each lacuna as in this one on the page above it is possible to reproduce the missing text from the Masoretic text which is absolutely always consistent with the context. Although there are some variation from the Masoretic text, these are very infrequent and most often involve only a word and more often person and number of a verb or number of a noun, but even this is infrequent and can not be considered substantial.

5. There are several places where an extra word or two is added to the text. These are infrequent in relation to the total text and they add no real content that is not already in the text. One such addition of 2 words can be seen on this page in the last word in line 18 and the first word in line 19 These words are especially interesting because of their Aramaic origin and are discussed under Variations below.

6. Rarely, a verse is missing altogether. There is no example of this on the first page here but you can see in the portion of the next page , between the second and third line up from the lacuna there are editor's marks indicating where verse 10 of Isaiah 2 is completely omitted. Whoever the editor was he marked the text circa 100 BCE. before it was "bottled" Thus the original Isaiah text was understood at that time to contain some words which were not written by the original Qumran scribe and the elision was taken (in BCE) to be a scribal error. This is also the case in other places where there is an omission or a redundancy where the scribe has copied the same text twice and an editor has marked the error

I HOPE THE POINT HAS BEEN MADE THAT I WAS ONLY REFERRING TO THE TIME FROM THE DSS ISAIAH SCROLL TO NOW, AND NOT BEFORE, AND I DON'T GET HOW YOU GOT THAT IDEA OUT OF MY VERY FIRST STATEMENT AT THE TOP OF THIS POST.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 04-10-2005 5:01 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by jar, posted 04-10-2005 8:41 PM Faith has responded
 Message 27 by PaulK, posted 04-11-2005 2:36 AM Faith has responded
 Message 180 by Checkmate, posted 04-25-2005 2:11 AM Faith has not yet responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 6 of 204 (198144)
04-10-2005 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
04-10-2005 8:32 PM


Does the fact that Mark, as just one example, shows significant changes that totally modifies the whole feel and content of the Gospel and that those changes came long after Isaiah have any bearing on this discussion?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 8:32 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 8:45 PM jar has responded

  
Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 7 of 204 (198145)
04-10-2005 8:45 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by jar
04-10-2005 8:41 PM


Does the fact that Mark, as just one example, shows significant changes that totally modifies the whole feel and content of the Gospel and that those changes came long after Isaiah have any bearing on this discussion?

No. All I want is acknowledgment that I made an extremely simple statement about the Isaiah scroll and have now backed it up and that PaulK misunderstood what I said.


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 Message 6 by jar, posted 04-10-2005 8:41 PM jar has responded

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 Message 8 by jar, posted 04-10-2005 9:06 PM Faith has responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 8 of 204 (198149)
04-10-2005 9:06 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
04-10-2005 8:45 PM


So you agree that the Bible has been edited and changed almost continuously and continued being edited long long after Isaiah. You are only saying that Isaiah has not be significantly edited since the Isaiah scroll?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 8:45 PM Faith has responded

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arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 9 of 204 (198153)
04-10-2005 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
04-10-2005 5:01 PM


The Isaiah scroll among the Dead Sea scrolls confirms the fact that there haven't been all the changes in the text so often claimed

i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that faith is MOSTLY right.

if i recall, the copy of isaiah found in the dead sea scrolls is close to identical to modern masoretic text. it's been a while since my class, so i forget if it had the last few chapters (the 3rd isaiah) or not.

it does however confirm the accuracy of the masoretic text, IN THIS INSTANCE, to text at around the time christ. (300 years. wow. imagine us messing up what the consititution says... oh wait)

however, this just indicates that the second source was added to the text before it was included in the library. it's a last date for changes, not proof it's been the same all along. any child with a bible can pick up a copy of isaiah and note that sections are exactly the same as kings -- one of these two sources copied from the other, or a third source was used. so in essence, there's proof of change right there.

however, i will counter with a similar point.

TWO copies of jeremiah were found in the scrolls. and they are very, very different. which one is older?


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Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 10 of 204 (198155)
04-10-2005 9:51 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
04-10-2005 9:06 PM


So you agree that the Bible has been edited and changed almost continuously and continued being edited long long after Isaiah. You are only saying that Isaiah has not be significantly edited since the Isaiah scroll?

Literally, yes to your last sentence. But I also infer that it has implications for the reliability of the copying and transmission of ALL the texts since then. You might give a glance at the links I supplied.

This message has been edited by Faith, 04-10-2005 08:51 PM


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Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 11 of 204 (198156)
04-10-2005 10:05 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by arachnophilia
04-10-2005 9:32 PM


if i recall, the copy of isaiah found in the dead sea scrolls is close to identical to modern masoretic text.

That's what the links I gave confirm.

however, i will counter with a similar point.

TWO copies of jeremiah were found in the scrolls. and they are very, very different. which one is older?

I'm not a DSS scholar but I did look this up -- briefly. Found that there is a Septuagint Jeremiah that is quite a bit shorter than the Masoretic text which is the basis for our copies of Jeremiah, though it wasn't clear that a Masoretic version was actually found in the DSS. Which is older? On what basis? They'd both be copies in any case. And if one is Septuagint and one Masoretic obviously the Hebrew (Masoretic) would be the older.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by arachnophilia, posted 04-10-2005 9:32 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by arachnophilia, posted 04-10-2005 10:17 PM Faith has responded

    
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 12 of 204 (198157)
04-10-2005 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Faith
04-10-2005 10:05 PM


Found that there is a Septuagint Jeremiah that is quite a bit shorter than the Masoretic text which is the basis for our copies of Jeremiah, though it wasn't clear that a Masoretic version was actually found in the DSS.

the two versions are clearly the same text. but one is shorter, and in a completely different order. i forget offhand which is which.

Which is older? On what basis?

that was my question. nobody knows.

They'd both be copies in any case.

not neccessarily. one could be a rearranging of the other.

And if one is Septuagint and one Masoretic obviously the Hebrew (Masoretic) would be the older

vice-versa, actually. the masoretic text was compiled about 300 ad. the septuagint was compiled about 200 bc. what is amazing, as your original claim pointed out, is that the masoretic text is so close to the dss texts. it gives some validity to the faithfulness of the masoretic copies.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 10:05 PM Faith has responded

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Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 13 of 204 (198160)
04-10-2005 10:26 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by arachnophilia
04-10-2005 10:17 PM


OK, so I gather that the Masoretic is a specific lineage of Hebrew texts as it were. Post-Christian. I looked this up too and found it's such a huge and somewhat controversial topic I'm not up to thinking about it for now.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by arachnophilia, posted 04-10-2005 10:17 PM arachnophilia has responded

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jar
Member
Posts: 30920
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 14 of 204 (198161)
04-10-2005 10:32 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Faith
04-10-2005 9:51 PM


I still don't understand what you're saying.
Do you agree that the Bible has been edited, revised, added to, subtracted from including both the Old and New Testament?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 9:51 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
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Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 15 of 204 (198162)
04-10-2005 10:34 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
04-10-2005 9:06 PM


So you agree that the Bible has been edited and changed almost continuously and continued being edited long long after Isaiah.

Of course not. There is plenty of evidence that the transmission of the entire Bible has been remarkably reliable for the last 2000 years, that the differences between old and recent texts and between different "lineages" of texts as it were, are negligible. There is some evidence offered in the links I already gave in my first post but if you want more proof I won't have time to track it down for a while.

As for changes prior to the DSS or prior to Christianity, that's a whole nother set of arguments. If you want to try it, muster your charges and I may get around to trying to answer them.


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