Saturday, March 27, 2010

More on the Azusa Pacific exhibition of their DSS fragments

MORE ON THE AZUSA PACIFIC EXHIBITION of the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments now in their possession:
In Azusa, scholars and religious leaders unravel rare Dead Sea Scrolls fragments

By Evelyn Barge, Staff Writer (
Posted: 03/26/2010 07:17:09 PM PDT

After keeping fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls mostly under wraps for seven months, officials at Azusa Pacific University on Friday invited groups of scholars and local religious leaders to look at the ancient texts.

The 2,000-year-old fragments, tiny pieces of the earliest known text of the Hebrew scriptures, will be part of a public exhibition this spring, along with other rare biblical artifacts.


Two of the fragments contain passages from Deuteronomy, one fragment is identified as from Leviticus, and another as the book of Daniel.

The fifth fragment, previously thought to be from Exodus, remains unidentified. It contains the fewest number of visible characters.

A fragment of Deuteronomy 27, photographs of which were released to researchers by APU, is already generating scholarly debate about the location where an altar was to be built in ancient Israel. The university's fragment denotes Mount Gerizim as the location, Charlesworth said, while modern bibles indicate Mount Ebal.

If the fragment is indeed an original copy of Deuteronomy, the revelation has the potential to change the understanding - and possibly even the wording - of the modern bible, Charlesworth said.

There is some confusion here and I think Charlesworth's comments must have been misunderstood a little. I'm not sure what "an original copy of Deuteronomy" is. This is certainly not the original copy. It may be a copy of the Samaritan version of Deuteronomy and the issue is which of the two readings (and hence which location of the altar) was original. Much more on this fragment is here.

Background to Azusa Pacific University's acquisition of the fragments is here.