Talk:Dead Sea Scrolls

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Origin of the Scrolls[edit]

Christian Origin Theory, to include Eisenman's theories here is ludicrous. He believes the Scrolls were authored by a Jewish nationalist group led by James the Just (brother of Jesus). To describe these as 'early Christians' is to distort his work totally. Suggest moving the reference to a new section "Jewish nationalist sectarian group origin theory". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.91.9.9 (talk) 03:46, 15 February 2013 (UTC)


The Caves Sections #2 & #3[edit]

These sections seem difficult to read. I started the processes of making collapsable lists of the scrolls, for section number 3, and thought that when this is completed these two sections could be merged to make the article easier to browse. Also, these sections need citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eagletennis (talkcontribs) 18:10, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Scroll Lists[edit]

The Scroll lists in this article are from a source from 1998. They seem to be out of date and incomplete. I do not personally have the time for the full update, but would like to see someone help out on the task, especially if someone knows of a good source for a complete list of scrolls with corresponding verses/references. Eagletennis (talk) 00:31, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Also, should this section be another article entitled "List of Dead Sea Scroll documents"? Would like to hear everyone's input. Eagletennis (talk) 00:12, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Bold Headings instead of regular Section Headings[edit]

I think this question may be more for you, EagleTennis... Is there a reason for creating section headings using Bold markup rather than Heading markup? I think this violates WP:MOS#Article titles, headings, and sections, and also makes the TOC less useful (because they are not true subsections, as far as the WP backend is concerned, the TOC becomes incomplete). An anon IP seems to have reformatted a few into true subsections, but there are many more in the article. — al-Shimoni (talk) 05:31, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Well I am still working on some of the more researched based sections of the article, and was going to wait until I was done, so was just temporary, but feel free to change any subsections that you feel necessary. But, I will make the change now, it np. Feel free to contribute any subsection title changes that you feel best fit the article or any that you would like to see, etc. Thanks! Cheers Eagletennis (talk) 11:58, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

If it is temporary, then I don't see any problem, especially with the additional information which you have added. I haven't yet had the time to reread the article, yet, but I have made a few snapshot glances at it (normal quick glaces to make sure someone isn't replacing an article with a tin-hat theory of aliens, lead by SpongeBob, are taking over the government). :) What I have glanced at has looked good. — al-Shimoni (talk) 04:25, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Radiocarbon dating[edit]

Most writings on the DSS say they are mostly dated between 150 BCE and 70 CE. I see the section on radiocarbon dating here mostly falls in that general line (that is also used at the start of this article). I see that one radiocarbon dating cited here says they fall between 385 BCE to 82 CE with "68%" reliability (not sure of the correct term used for this part of the dating). Does anyone know a lot about these dating methods? I'm guessing since the 150 BCE to 70 CE is the usual range always given, the 385 BCE is an outlier (as I've never heard any number going back beyond 200 BCE in anything I've read) not sure how this relates to the 68% number provided on that as well. Just wondered if anyone had any background info on that as it can be seen as contradictory (with the usual 150 BCE- 70 CE dating given everywhere else).Historylover4 (talk) 15:54, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi Historylover4. Per the intro: "These manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE and 70 CE, although carbon dating indicates this range extends to the third century BCE." So the date range is approximate. A 68% (1 Sigma on a bell curve) means that there is a 68% chance from those test results that the pieces of those fragments tested fall within the 385 BCE to 82 CE range. It also means that there is a 32% chance that these pieces can be dated beyond this range. Depending on what you are testing, 1 sigma is considered the lowest acceptable standard in academics to compare data results. Usually 2-sigma, known as a 95% confidence level rather than a 68% confidence level, is usually considered more academically acceptable. I did not make any changes to the intro because it was vague enough to be acceptable in my mind. But, even with 2 sigma tests the ranges for some of the documents extend from 408 BCE to 318 CE, a rather broad range - see the drop down table in the age section. This could be because of contaminents on the pieces tested or because the documments were in fact written over a long period. It might be a good idea to change the into dates to be more consistant and b/c I feel like the sources in the age section are more sound. Eagletennis (talk) 18:40, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I made the changes to the date range as well as updated the languages and materials in the intro for consistency with cited sources in body of the article. Cheers. Eagletennis (talk) 23:53, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I was wondering if any supplementary data obtained by another independent dating method were available. This could help to narrow (or widen?) the date range. For example, is something like genetic age testing available and accurate enough? I mean the DNA analysis of parchment or papyrus samples. According to the description of Qumran Caves, they are located in limestone cliffs, and limestone is mainly composed of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The carbon in limestone looks much "older" then the atmospheric carbon in a radiocarbon test. If a goat or sheep whose hide is used to make parchment eats plants that grow on "old carbon"-rich fertilizers, a parchmnet sample could theoretically look much older than it really is. On the other hand, DNA testing could be less carbon-isotope dependent. It should be possible to tell the difference between a XXth century goat hide sample, a goat hide from the 10th century CE and a sample from 200 BCE.
I have never heard of any research in this field in reference to the Dead Sea scrolls and the Qumran area. Is there any evidence of this kind available that could be included into the article?--C. Trifle (talk) 17:35, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
There is this link [1]. It only says that some attempts have been made to test the DNA on the parchment but no attempt is reported to compare the results with radiocarbon testing.--C. Trifle (talk) 23:07, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
K. Richardson, H. Griffiths, M.L. Reed, J.A. Raven and N.M. Griffiths, Oecologia (Berlin) (1984) 61:115-121 [2]] studied inorganic carbon assimilation in some plants where CO2 was incorporated by their roots and shoots. In one of them , Lobelia dortmanna, 99.9% of carbon was taken up through the roots. The CO2 in this research included mainly the C14 carbon, and the water came from a Scotish loch. However, I suppose that there could be situations, caused by natural or artificial factors, where the CO2 dissolved in the water contains mainly the C12 carbon (I mean more than the ratio C14/C12 in the atmosphere, which has also varied over centuries [3]). For example, a CO2 source or a natural gas deposit under the bottom of a lake or pond could produce this effect. Now everything depends on a goat's diet. And these animals eat strange things, especially during the drought. As a result, it could appear much older than its ancestors in a radiocarbon test! If one supplies a greenhouse with a CO2 from a gas bottle, the ratio of C14/C12 could be made different inside than in the atmosphere and people or animals who eat mainly plants produced in such a glasshouse could become really "ancient" in the sense of the C14 carbon test. I thoroughly accept the statistical explanation of the 68% etc. above by Eagletennis, but there could be some reasons underlying the statistics. Cheers.--C. Trifle (talk) 23:07, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that Carbon dating the Dead Sea Scrolls be merged BACK into Dead Sea Scrolls. I think that the content in the article can easily be explained in the context of the Dead Sea Scroll article at large, and the DSS article is of a reasonable size in which the merging of CD the DSS will not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. Please note that this is the SECOND time this merger proposal has been posted by myself and that user Ihutchesson reversed the original merger. Please see the third talk archives. Thanks! Eagletennis (talk) 21:57, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment I am ok with a merged article or with these being separate articles. I can see the value in having a separate article as the CD article is mostly (useful to a small few) data, and the current DSS article is quite hefty as it is. In fact, I would be OK with having the "Fragment and scrolls list" become a third article leaving a much shorter and more superficial section in its place in the DSS article. Just IMHO. — al-Shimoni (talk) 07:35, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Probably leave as is - the carbon dating article is pretty long, and I would also think al-Shimoni's suggestion that "Fragment and scrolls list" become a third article is good - except I thought there already was one somewhere? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:55, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
    • I agree, there is probably a need for a separate "List of the Dead Sea Scrolls" article or something similar. Eagletennis (talk) 00:57, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Era BCE/CE or CE/AD[edit]

The article currently has mixed usage, so we need to choose one and go with it. Since this article is not primarily about a Christian subject, I believe BCE/CE would be better. Editor2020 (talk)

Thanks for catching the drive–by WP:ERA change by 76.23.128.42. There were also era changes made yesterday by 82.122.51.65 and an earlier one by another IP which I've reverted. Consensus was previously reached in discussions in the archive. The article should be consistent now with the exception of the sole instance of A.D. which is in the direct quote in this section and so should remain as it is. Mojoworker (talk) 05:52, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Dever[edit]

It is not clear whether Dever's theories refer to the Dead Sea Scrolls at all. Whoever put in the original reference says things like "Read his books". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 46.65.7.129 (talk) 14:00, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

The reference to William Dever has vanished now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 46.65.7.129 (talk) 12:52, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

A recent article by John J. Collins[edit]

For the Los Angeles Times, visible at http://www.adn.com/2013/03/14/2824754/the-eternal-disputes-of-the-dead.html --Jerome Potts (talk) 21:48, 15 March 2013 (UTC)


So called "division" of finds[edit]

This 4th & last ¶ of initial section has two problems. 1:  % = what? Number of fragments? Number of scrolls (i.e. documents) represented? Number of lines of text? Bible is also a bit inflated, given great Isaiah Scrolls, which may be a big chunk of this. 2: Canonical, 2nd temple, and sectarian. This may be an ok division, but the description needs work. Tobit & Sirach are part of LXX canon -- do we know whether Qumranites thought them canonical? And other 2nd Temple doc's were never candidates for canonization. This middle category needs some work -- or simply called other 2nd temple not in Masoretic Text canon.

Too busy now to attend to. Good luck. ABS (talk) 01:44, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

All the numbers are out dated, since much of the material is fragmented or aggregated together and is slowly being teased apart. During the period of time that the scrolls were being collected and written there was no "official" canon compiled into one work, this concept is a later development and only has bearing to the different faith groups that use those books now. A number of the works that are not now see as canonical to Jews, were looked on as inspirational and nearly equivalent to or on par to the biblical works, but this is of coarse dependent on which group, and for what purpose, they had use for them - and we just do not have enough information to make that determination, (the problem of who the scrolls belong to, and what the Essene community believed, has not even been settled yet). Hardyplants (talk) 03:27, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I should add that there is good evidence that the Biblical works found among the scrolls may represent a third textual history in the development of the Jewish religious texts that became the Jewish and Christian bible ( the other were the greek translation, and the texts that became the Masoretic canon.Hardyplants (talk) 03:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Ink and Parchment[edit]

There is a picture in the ink and parchment section that is wrong. It says Iron(II) Oxide (bottom left) but that clearly isn't an oxide. It looks translucent like a salt. It is perhaps iron(II) chloride or iron(II) sulfate. Vmelkon (talk) 16:42, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

My first thought was sulfate as well, and in fact it looks as if the picture in that montage may have been taken from the same image used here. Removing it for now. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 13:12, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Recreating list of DSS From Scratch[edit]

I am currently working to recreate the list of available Dead Sea Scrolls from scratch, using Vermes' 6th edition (I don't have access to the 7th, and final, edition) and online sites as sources. I've already found several questionable or unclear items in the existing entries. When I'm done, I hope to revamp this section of the DSS article and merge the separate "List of DSS" articles into it. Is anyone else trying to do the same? I don't want to duplicate work if so. Additionally, I would like to add a page which allows one to start from a Biblical passage, and determine which DSSs, if any, pertain to that passage. I'll be sure to include Apocryphal or any texts considered canon by at least one major Judeochristian branch. Jtrevor99 (talk) 02:32, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Origin theories coverage[edit]

The implication of this section as written is the the Essene theory was the consensus view until the 1990s, when it started to fall apart and now a substantial number of scholars consider the scrolls to have originated with "Christians" of "Sadducees".

We should probably specify, rather, that the Christian origin theory is a ridiculous fringe claim rejected by virtually all scholars, that in Schiffman's own words saying "the Sadducees wrote the scrolls" is a gross misrepresentation of his view.

Oh, and that virtually all scholars still take it as practically a given that the Essenes were the sect in question.

182.249.240.18 (talk) 04:18, 17 June 2014 (UTC)