About the dating of texts by the earliest manuscripts

Melvin Ely and Naama Zahavi-Ely nxzaha at wm.edu
Tue Dec 5 08:12:50 EST 2000


A point has been made that the earliest copies of books of the Bible that we
have are the Dead Sea Scrolls (which is obviously true), and that therefore
we should assume that the date of composition could not have been far
earlier.  May I suggest that until the chance find of the scrolls, the
earliest manuscripts were about a thousand years later?  Yet the text,
notwithstanding its variants, is basically the same.  If we used the same
logic for dating Greek works, we would end up with Homer being written in
the Middle Ages.  So -- dating the Bible and its parts is still an open
question, but I don't see what the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls has to do
with it.

Best wishes,


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