Tag Archives: Dead Sea Scrolls

Charlesworth on a Fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Via Jim West. James Charlesworth has the following to say regarding a fragment of Deuteronomy 27:

We finally found the original text of Deuteronomy. This is sensationally important.

This comes from Azusa Pacific’s new acquisition of 5 DSS fragments (article here):

The university released a photograph of one fragment that already has been studied by an outside researcher. The brownish-colored section with frayed edges shows part of the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy. In it, Moses delivers a discourse from God, telling the Jewish people to build an altar of stone once they cross the River Jordan into the land of Israel.  The fragment lists the location for the altar as Mount Gerizim. Modern Bibles mentioned another site, Mount Ebal.  James H. Charlesworth, a New Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, said the difference suggests that the fragment may be an original copy of Deuteronomy that was altered at some point by warring factions of Jews.

Of course, the fragment is still several centuries removed from the original composition, but it evidently points to Gerizim as the location of the altar to be built by the Israelites, not Ebal. This supports the Samaritan Pentateuch against the Masoretic texts on the location of that altar, but Qumran has a number of texts that are very closely aligned with SP (as well as many that are not). I don’t think it is as black and white as now having the original text, but it definitely adds another piece to the puzzle.