Monday, June 12, 2017

Dead Sea Scrolls found in the first millennium?

THE ANXIOUS BENCH: Alternative Scriptures: Finding the First Scrolls (Philip Jenkins). A cache of Dead Sea Scrolls seems to have been found around 800 CE. It is possible that someone copied the fragments of the Damascus Document in the Cairo Geniza from one of those scrolls. Professor Jenkins doesn't mention this, but it's also possible that someone copied the Cairo Geniza fragments of Aramaic Levi from material that came from that discovery. We don't know: both suggestions are speculative but plausible.

For more on that discovery as related by the Patriarch Timonty in a Syriac letter, see this essay by John Reeves for my Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Course back in 1997: REFLECTIONS ON JEWISH APOCRYPHAL AND PSEUDEPIGRAPHICAL SURVIVALS IN MEDIEVAL NEAR EASTERN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS. I also talk about Timothy's letter in an introductory page for my 2005 course on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Introduction to the Scrolls from the Judean Desert. As I note there, the (heretical but vastly learned) church father Origen knew of scrolls discovered "near Jericho" around 200 CE.

Earlier posts in Professor Jenkins's series on "alternative scriptures" are noted here and links.

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