Dead Sea Scrolls Put Online; Catholic Church Fires Head of Papal Department of Conspiracies

Well, this is a bummer if you’ve been earning your living as part of the grand conspiracy run by the Catholic Church to conceal the damning truths in the Dead Sea Scrolls. You know — how the Church has tried to suppress the fact that Christianity has doctrinal touchpoints with Judaism, and how some of its ideas come straight out of Judaism . . . no, wait . . . that’s what the New Testament book of Acts tells us. Someone tell the Vatican Library! (Or, better, Michael Baigent so he can get a clue).

In case you want to see the beginnings of a very cool project to put the original scrolls online in high resolution images — before the Pope and the secret bloodline descendants of Jesus and their allies from the Pleiades find out and clamp down on the project — here’s the link.

Bible Code Debate with Yours Truly This Weekend

Some of you may be interested to know that my 2001 debate with Grant Jeffrey on Coast to Coast AM (then with Art Bell — the old Art Bell Show) will be replayed this weekend (Saturday night). Wow. 2001 – my grad school days.

The link has the show set for 6-10 PT. I can’t actually recall if I was on the full four hours or just three.  It may have been four since the show was five hours when Art did it (the first hour was usually for news or whatever else Art wanted to talk about). The only thing I do recall about the show and debate was that Grant Jeffrey really had no idea what I was talking about.  He basically has no background or knowledge of Hebrew, textual criticism, or how the Old Testament was transmitted.  But if you have a friend that believes this nonsense, please invite them to listen, as well as going to this web page – pretty much the page I had up for the show, visually demonstrating (from the Dead Sea Scrolls) how the idea of an every-letter equidistant letter sequence (ELS; the backbone idea of the Bible code) is demonstrably false.

Thanks to Shirley in Michigan for alerting me to this!

Lead Tablet Discovery: Let the Archaeology Presstitution Begin

Well, you know it’s going to happen. This sort of discovery, if valid, will introduce a new wave of archaeo-porn for archaeo-media presstitutes everywhere — and of course their mystic “researchers” across cyberspace who are just waiting for the next piece of antiquity news to twist into yet more revisionist mytho-history about Jesus and the early Christians. What fun!

Here’s a very nice posting (“Lead Codices Silliness“) that sketches the already-encroaching silliness factor. Now Robert Feather has weighed in — the guy who believes the Copper Scroll from Qumran is related to Akhenaten and his Aten-worship. Feather thinks the lead codices have Kabbalah written all over them. No kidding. All that from some pictures on the web. Now that’s scholarship. Is his last name an abbreviation of “feather-brain”? No doubt it will get even wackier (and yes, it can).

I wonder when the likes of Michael Baigent, Christopher Knight, Robert Lomas, and Lynn Picknett will get involved. Then we’ll have a non-sequitur Battle Royal on our hands.

Quick Introduction to How the Dead Sea Scrolls Help Establish the Text of the Hebrew Bible

I’ve posted this link over on my Naked Bible blog as well. It’s a good introduction to the topic, and pertinent to paleobabbling on the web in several ways. The myth of scroll secrecy and how “Bible believers” fear the scrolls come immediately to mind. Thanks to the ETC blog for the link!

X-Box PaleoBabble: The Book of Enoch as a Video Game

Someone sent me this link today, knowing I’ve spent a good deal of time studying 1 Enoch. The book of 1 Enoch is now the basis for an impending X-Box video game (there is a sample trailer at the link – Japanese version).  Check it out. What I saw looks cool, but I’d say a more appropriate description would be “very loosely based” on 1 Enoch. For instance, it was *not* Enoch’s mission to bring the fallen angels back to heaven. In the story he was sent by God to tell them they were toast and would never be coming back — having been asked by the offending angels to try and soften up God on their behalf.

As far as the link goes, there’s also some paleobabble to that. The blog calls 1 Enoch “heretical.” I guess he’s unaware that the Qumran sect were very theologically conservative, that 1 Enoch was known and used in Judaism outside Qumran, and that the NT imbibes on its content in various ways. It was never considered canonical in the Church (though it had its defenders in the early church, namely Origen), but that does not mean it is heretical. The book was well-respected in early Judaism and Christianity, despite not being bumped up to the level of canon.  It was only with Augustine (who knew neither Hebrew nor Greek, and so should not be considered a biblical theologian) that 1 Enoch fell into disrepute, no doubt due in part to Augustine’s own falling out with the Manicheans, who revered 1 Enoch.

I would suggest that blogger (and anyone else so interested) try to obtain the following for reading:

Studies in 1 Enoch and the New Testament: Proceedings of the Nineteenth Meeting of the New Testament Society of South Africa (Stellenbosch, 1983)

R. H. Charles’ commentary on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Charles notes OT and NT connections all the time).

Parables of Enoch, Early Judaism, Jesus, and Christian Origins, ed. Darrell Bock and James H. Charlesworth

1 Enoch, Enochi Motifs, and Enoch in Early Christianity,” Chapter Two in The Jewish apocalyptic heritage in early Christianity, by James C. VanderKam

New Dead Sea Scrolls Testing

I wonder how long it will be before the paleobabbling spin-meisters get hold of this and twist it to more absurd ends (and book sales).  Michael Baigent–can you hear me calling?  Here’s a new conspiracy for you! These X-rays of the scrolls reveal “lost” material . . . or maybe they prove the ink is made from chemical compounds “not of this world” . . . yeah, that’s it.

Anyway, for those readers still in possession of a full deck, check out this story of the testing and its actual purposes.

Dead Sea Scroll Conspiracy Dies — Again

The first time was a few years after the scrolls were discovered when, contrary to nitwits like Baigent and Leigh (“The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception”), the scrolls began to be published. (For an account of the publishing history of the scrolls — other than simply looking at the copyright dates in the DJD series [Discoveries in the Judaean Desert], see VanderKam’s book for non-specialists, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, pp. 187-193 of the first edition).  So much for the conspiracy.  Wow, that took a lot of research.

Anyway, the conspiracy died again, when the Qumran scrolls went digital.  I had access to them in grad school.

Now, the scrolls are all going online. ! GASP !  WHAT ARE THEY THINKING !!!  HOW DID THEY GET THIS PAST THE VATICAN?!?  WHAT WILL THE ILLUMINATI DO NEXT!?!  I’m on the edge of my seat.

Granted, it will take a while to put everything up online in high resolution, but before you think that’ll give the insiders a chance to obscure the damning truths in them that will overturn all that we think about the church (despite them being published since the fifties) you should realize that high resolution, scalable photographs of the scrolls have been available for years. I remember seeing the set made by BYU at least ten years ago, but I didn’t have a few thousand dollars (or that much interest) to purchase a set.  Glad I waited.

Update on Copper Scroll Paleobabble

I know this will come as a shock, but the claims of Jimmy Barfield, the amateur researcher who claimed to have “deciphered” the “code” of the Copper Scroll (and so, many objects described in it) appears bogus.  Hard to imagine that we’ll have to add Jimmy to the paleobabble dustbin of archaeological cheesiness.

Readers can check out this post by Robert Cargill on the nonsense, as well as this follow-up, which is more substantive in its analysis.

Margaret Barker Manufactures a Goddess in Isaiah 7

I really enjoy Margaret Barker’s work. For those unfamiliar with her, she’s a scholar in the fields of biblical studies and Second Temple Judaism. I interacted with her work as part of my dissertation. Unfortunately, Barker is often accused of over-reaching the data and drawing conclusions that are too speculative. That’s fair–you read Barker because she asks questions no one else seems to, and argues for connecting dots that most scholars don’t think can or should be connected. In short, she’s stimulating, and well worth reading. But still, the criticisms are fair.

I recently had someone ask me about a claim Barker makes in an online article. Barker claims thatin the Dead Sea Great Isaiah scroll, in the famous virgin birth passage, the prophet says to King Ahaz, “ask for yourself a sign from the mother of Yahweh” (Isaiah 7:11) — thereby suggesting that Yahweh had a wife who would in part be responsible for the messianic child (or perhaps that Yahweh had a mother). Aside from the problems associated with the notion that the original Isaiah 7 prophecy was about the messiah, or Jesus (it wasn’t – it was later used as an example of “analogous prophetic fulfillment” by the gospel writer Matthew), Barker’s notion is misguided — and I’d say even manipulative. (But I still say you should read her stuff — just do it with both eyes open). I’ll try and explain why.

In the image below you have: (1) blue notes about modern handwriting by the scholar who handle the photo of the text – he puts in verse numbers corresponding to the Masoretic text (=MT) versification and finishes lines based on MT. (2) a red line underlining the portion in question, and the Hebrew text from the MT to that corresponding portion (from Isa 7:11). (3) notes / arrows in brown and purple about the way letters are formed.1 Since Hebrew doesn’t come through on the blog page. see this PDF for an explanation of the image and Barker’s manufacture of a goddess here.

  1. First a note for anyone who knows Hebrew to whom you might show this. Qumran hand-writing style at times (not rare) does not make the final “m” of a word look like the final mem of Hebrew look like you’d see it today in print or in other manuscripts.