New book on Dead Sea Scrolls lends support to historicity of the Gospels
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
and the Jewish Origins of Christianity
by Carsten Peter Theide
(Lion Paperback, 2000, 256pp, $24.95. Available from AD Books)
The Dead Sea Scrolls, a new book by well known and respected papyrologist, Carsten Peter Thiede, could possibly become one of the most authoritative books on the subject.
He is currently Professor of New Testament History and Papyrology at a Swiss university, and teaches at the Department of International Studies at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Thiede's earlier title, The Jesus Papyrus, argued for the historical Jesus as He is presented in the Gospels. This he demonstrated by research that presented the historicity of the gospels. In this volume, Theide - using microscopic analysis on the scrolls - reveals previously undetected texts. One of the undetected texts is a fragment from the Gospel of Mark.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been attributed to the Essenes, a semi-monastic Jewish sect that lived in the Galilean wilderness during the period 150BC-68AD. Since the discovery of the scrolls, various theories have emerged on their relationship with Christianity. Some have also argued that the delay in translating the scrolls was due to a Catholic cover-up, as the scrolls would undermine traditional Christianity.
Theide, however, maintains the Jewish origins of the scrolls, while identifying a fragment of Mark's Gospel which leads to the tradition that Mark's Gospel was in circulation well before 70AD.
As in many of his other works, Theide maintains the historicity of the Gospels, while introducing new and fascinating material. In this volume Theide provides a balanced and informative understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of the Jewish origins of Christianity. The scrolls, he says, "invite us to develop a new awareness of our roots."
Anthony Cappello is a research assistant for the Thomas More Centre.