Apostoli Orson Pratt lausui aikoinaan, että "Vanhan testamentin
vanhimmat nykyään olemassaolevat käsikirjoitukset
ovat kotoisin 12. vuosisadalta j.Kr."
olla totta silloin, mutta Kuolleenmeren kääröjen
löytäminen on muuttanut koko tilanteen. Meillä on
nyt joitakin käsikirjoituksia, jotka ovat peräisin ajoilta
kääröt löydettiin v. 1947, kun eräs poika heitti kiven
luolaan lähellä Kuolluttamerta. Hän hämmästyi
ääntä, joka oli syntynyt jonkin esineen rikkoutumisesta,
ja palasi takaisin myöhemmin ja löysi ruukkuja, joiden
sisällä oli muinaisia käsikirjoituksia. Tämä
oli vain alkua, sillä seuranneissa joukkoetsinnöissä
löytyi useita tärkeitä käsikirjoituksia.
The Biblical manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls have
been called by scholars 'the greatest manuscript discovery of
modern times.' They include Old Testament books and non-Biblical
texts dating from 100 B.C. to A.D. 68.1
Frank Moore Cross, Jr. kuvailee kääröjä näin:
A sketch of the contents of Cave IV may be helpful.... At the
end of four years' labor 382 manuscripts have been identified
from this cave.... Of the manuscripts identified thus far, about
one hundred, slightly more than one fourth of the total, are biblical.
All of the books of the Hebrew canon are now extant, with the
exception of the Book of Esther....
Three very old documents have been found in Cave IV.... They
include an old copy of Samuel, preserved in only a handful of
fragments; a patched and worn section of Jeremiah,... and a copy
of Exodus ... of which only a column and a few tatters are extant....
The archaic Samuel scroll can date scarcely later than 200 B.C.
A date in the last quarter of the third century is preferable.
The Jeremiah is probably slightly later. The archaic Exodus ...
appears to be no later than the old Samuel fragments and probably
One copy of Daniel is inscribed in the script of the late second
The biblical scrolls from Qumran span in date about three centuries.
A few archaic specimens carry us back to the end of the third
century, as we have seen. The heavy majority, however, date in
the first century B.C. and in the first Christian century ...2
Mormon scholars accept the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
although they have not come to grips with the serious problems that
these manuscripts create for the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's
Inspired Version of the Bible.
Keller tiivisti Jesajan käärön tilanteen näin:
The text of Isaiah from the cave at Qumran had actually been
copied about 100 B.C., as Professor Albright had been first to
recognize ... with the discovery of the Dead Sea scroll of Isaiah
we have a Hebrew text of the Bible.... And the remarkable and
wonderful fact is that ancient scroll of Isaiah, just like the
book of the prophet in any printed Bible, whether in Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, German, or any other language,... agrees with our present-day
Seventeen sheets of leather sewn together into a length of almost
twenty-three feet--this must have been what the roll of the prophet
looked like as it was handed to Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth
so that he might read from it to the congregation. "And there
was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]."
(Luke 4:16,17) "Every movement of Jesus' hands is brought
closer to us," writes Professor Andre Parrot, "for we
can still see on the reverse side of the leather the marks of
the readers' fingers."3
Dr. Gleason L. Archer points out about the Isaiah scrolls that
"even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran
Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier
than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980),
they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew
Bible in more than 95 per cent of the text. The 5 per cent of
variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations
Bible scholars have reason to rejoice over the discovery of manuscripts
of Isaiah dating back to ancient times. Mormon scholars, however,
are faced with a dilemma, for although these manuscripts support
the text of the Bible, they could turn out to be one of the strongest
evidences against Joseph Smith's "inspired revision" of
the Bible and his "translation" of the text of Isaiah
found in the Book of Mormon. For years Mormon scholars have labored
to prove that the text of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon is actually
a translation of an ancient copy of Isaiah and is therefore superior
to the translation found in the Bible. They have attempted to show
parallels between the text of Isaiah found in the Book of Mormon
and that found in some ancient manuscripts. We have shown, however,
that these parallels are of little value because the manuscripts
were known and studied in Joseph Smith's time (See Mormon Scriptures
and the Bible, pp.9-10).
scholars could find similarities between the text of the Book of
Mormon and documents that were not known in Joseph Smith's day,
this type of evidence would be impressive. The Dead Sea Scrolls,
for instance, should provide a great deal of evidence for the Book
of Mormon if it is really an ancient record. The Isaiah scroll found
at Qumran Cave 1 should have caused a great deal of joy among Mormon
scholars, for here is a manuscript of Isaiah which is hundreds of
years older than any manuscript previously known. Surely, if the
Book of Mormon were true, this manuscript would be filled with evidence
to support the text of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon and thus prove
that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Instead of proving the Book
of Mormon, however, it has turned out to be a great disappointment
to Mormon scholars.
M. Rogers, who was assistant professor of religion at Brigham Young
Latter-day Saints have cause to rejoice with other Christians
and Jews for the new light and fresh perspective brought to them
by the Dead Sea Scrolls, but occasionally they need to be reminded
that their hopes and emotions make them vulnerable. It is quite
possible that claims for the Book of Mormon and for L.D.S. theology
will not be greatly advanced as a consequence of this discovery.5
Wayne Ham wrote his M.A. thesis for the department of biblical
languages at Brigham Young University in 1961. His thesis compared
the Isaiah scroll with the Book of Mormon and is titled, "A
Textual Comparison of the Isaiah Passages in the Book of Mormon
with the Same Passages in the St. Mark's Isaiah Scroll of the Dead
Sea Community." After making this study, Mr. Ham was forced
to the conclusion that the Isaiah scroll does not support the text
in the Book of Mormon. In an article he stated:
Latter Day Saints were hopeful that these Isaiah scrolls would
bring some supportive evidence for the Book of Mormon. The Dead
Sea Isaiah scroll, which dates probably from the second century
B.C., predates by one thousand years what was previously considered
to be the oldest surviving text of the Old Testament.
After a thorough investigation of the matter... this writer found
no noteworthy instances of support for the Book of Mormon claims.6
Mormon apologist Dr. Sidney B. Sperry, of Brigham Young University,
had to admit that the Dead Sea Scrolls do not help the case for
the Book of Mormon:
After reading the Scrolls very carefully, I come to the conclusion
that there is not a line in them that suggests that their writers
knew the Gospel as understood by Latter-day Saints. In fact, there
are a few passages that seem to prove the contrary....
should be especially interested in the light the Isaiah scroll
throws on the problem of the Isaiah text in the Book of Mormon.
I have compared in some detail the text of the scroll with its
parallels in the Book of Mormon text. This tedious task has revealed
that the scroll seldom agrees with the departures of the Book
of Mormon text from that of the conventional Masoretic text of
Isaiah and consequently the Authorized Version.... The Isaiah
scroll is of relatively little use to Latter-day Saints as showing
the antiquity of the text of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon....
The Scrolls undoubtedly contribute much to the history of Judaism
and Christianity, and specialists of the Old and New Testaments
are properly much concerned with them....
aside from their technical value to scholars, I believe that the
importance of the Scrolls in a religious sense has been highly
overrated by certain scholars. Their practical importance to Latter-day
Saints is relatively small.7
- Compton's Encyclopedia, vol. 6, p.41a
- The Ancient Library of Qumran, by Frank Moore Cross,
Jr., New York, 1961, pp.39, 40, 42, 43
- The Bible as History, by Werner Keller, William Neil,
trans., New York, 1957, pp.423-24
- A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Gleason L. Archer,
- Lewis M. Rogers, "The Significance of the Scrolls and
a Word of Caution" Progress in Archaeology, Brigham
Young University, 1963, pp.46-47
- Courage, vol. 1, no. 1, September 1970, p.20
- Progress in Archaeology, pp.52-54