Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls Online

One of the most exciting discoveries of modern biblical scholarship was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Containing 972 of some of the oldest texts known to exist from scripture were found at the site on the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Now the materials have been published online
Take your choice of Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Any of those languages. They have been translated into English for those who are limited to the last few hundred years of human experience. The passages give us an amazing window into the ancient world, its thought, its faith, and its practice. It tells us much about the Essenes, a community Jesus may well have known about; some go so far as to say he may have been taught there.
Whatever the case, happy trails for those of you wishing to take a look into the Ancient Near Eastern World.
And then there is the literature itself. Here's a favorite passage from the Servant Songs of Isaiah. God's word does not return empty. The servant may suffer, there may be a national calamity, such as the one Isaiah and his people faces in the Babylonian Captivity. But God's word endures for ever.
Here is an example of beautiful Biblical poetry;

10 The Second Song of Isaiah Quaerite Dominum
Isaiah 55:6-11

Seek the Lord while he wills to be found; *
call upon him when he draws near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways *
and the evil ones their thoughts;
And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion, *
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, *
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, *
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens *
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth, *
seed for sowing and bread for eating,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; *
it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, *
and prosper in that for which I sent it.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

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