Some Missteps in Narrating the Bible’s History - DSS section, Peter J. Gurry and John D. Meade

Steven Avery

Journal Issue on Biblical Authority and Textual Criticism

Agree, the Missteps article is very good.

One point should be emphasized about the Great Isaiah Scroll, which can be seen with commentary on the Fred P. Miller site.

Great Isaiah Scroll

First, the differences with the Masoretic Hebrew Bible text are remarkably limited, outside of the dialect differences.

And Isaiah, with lots of significant Messianic prophecy, starting with Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and chapter 53, used in the NT and early church writers, would be an expected target for textual tampering, against Christian interpretation, if the Masoretes had tampering proclivities.

The consistency of texts is a major confirmation of Masoretic fealty to their early text. (There is a sub-culture of writing that tries to paint the Masoretes as tamperers, often from Christian Identity circles.)

This does not affect the overall presentation in Missteps, of overly hopeful examinations of the DSS in Christian apologetic literature. In general the article does a good job in pointing out this on-going problem. However, the Great Isaiah Scroll deserves special examination.

And it is also worth pointing out that the DSS Pentateuch is, in a more general sense, akin to the Masoretic text. The book introductions in the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible by Flint and Abegg and Ulrich are helpful on this point.


Steven Avery