Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lesson in Life: Never be afraid to throw a rock into a cave.

Sometimes I still cannot believe that a human being walked on the moon. Conspiracy theories aside, I sometimes stop myself and think: That is the most remarkable discovery coming out of the 20th Century. I was in utero when it happened. I assume that my mother, who was with twins, was deeply uncomfortable when she watched the grainy footage of Armstrong taking that step.

But here’s the thing: I reckon that something else is bigger. I think that the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls is more wondrous, more remarkable, and more significant than what you see in the pic above [I have made two friends here in NYC who may beg to differ: Space nuts, both of them. :)]

Why say this?

I just listened to THIS talk on my subway ride. Sensational. [Download the PowerPoint as well as the talk.]

If you know any interesting facts about the Dead Sea Scrolls, then please share them here in your comments.

Imagine, as the story goes, being a shepherd throwing a rock into a cave [1947] and finding Bible manuscripts that were 1000 years older than anything anyone had to work with up to that point. 1000 years older. And then finding that the translations we always had were incredibly accurate.

So, as I flip open and read Isaiah 53 again, I take delight in knowing that this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus is not made up by some monk-dude in the middle ages. When I read Psalm 145, I’m thrilled that we found the famous missing verse [‘The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works’.], and when Jesus sends proof to John the Baptist that he is the Messiah in Matthew 11, he offers a list of things in our Old Testament as indications of Messianic expectations: the blind see, the deaf hear, the good news is preached to the poor etc. All quotes from Isaiah. The one thing not in our bibles: that ‘the dead are raised’.

That bit, and the rest, was found by a kid who throws rocks.

Must teach that to the Boy.

Love, Justin.

17 comments:

me said...

i know nothing about the dead sea scrolls. But i haven;t said hello to your blog lately... so hi! R

me said...

BTW, i can just see it now, the boy in the principals office:
Principal: 'So tell me again why you thought it was a good idea to throw rocks into the old lady's house?'
The Boy: "well you see, my dad ..."

oh justin ...

Megs said...

bens and i saw them,here in seattle, just recently - was pretty amazing! there was some of one of my favourite bits, isaiah 53 and 54. and a psalm where god's sacred name was written in a distinctly different style than the surrounding text. sent shivers sown my spine! all the people who have worked so hard to get my tatty little bible to me! thanks, people! i was in utero too when the first human took that small step on the moon!!!! oh, and happy happy birthday to the girl! hip hip hip hooray!!!! 'twas so good to meet you, girl, and you, boy, and you, Laurel! & to see you again, Justin!! i think i am going to go and find a cave to throw a rock in! you just never know. in the yucatan peninsula, mexico, i went scuba diving in caves - v scary, but the pristine, sacred, cathedral-like beauty as the light prismed through the water. ooops ... two girls who i supposed were sound asleep just made an appearance.hmmmmm........ adopt strict parent persona...

Megs said...

whom, i mean!

byron said...

Interesting fact about the dead sea scrolls. Not only did those found in Cave #1 (including the famous Isaiah scroll) dramatically upgrade the evidence for the accuracy of the much later Hebrew manuscripts (very very close to letter for letter identical over 1,000 years later!), but the scrolls in Cave #3 reinvigorated interest in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT that 1st century Jews, including the apostles, often used). This, though perhaps less directly relevant to the average Christian, has also yielded a whole range of interesting insights about how the OT was put together and used. Finally, the whole library discovered at Qumran has massively increased our knowledge about all kinds of things in the first century (as well as opening up a whole range of new questions).

Benjamin Ady said...

I'm gonna have to differ with you on this one, Justin. I think people walking on the moon is about 10,000 times kewler than finding those dusty old scrolls.

Goldy said...

I hear you dude!
It's one thing to hit a new level in space, but to swing back time itself and to show something to be true that so many people have trashed for years, how could that not be awesome to the Christian?

I have to admit, I have daydreamed on more than one occasion, of getting some ropes & stuff & abseiling into every cliff-side cave in the Middle East, searching for some more pots.

P.S. I'm downloading the talk for a post-exam listen. Feel free to write a post about half a dozen of your fave downloaded sermons...

Paul said...

Just listen to the talk. Very interesting. Thanks from the type.

Anonymous said...

sorry..tip!

Justin said...

Goldy -- in the talk, the lecturer says that there is no marker: "This is Cave 1" etc. You just have to get a map and pick out the correct cave. He says that he regularly can't find it.

Now thats kewl.

Paul -- no problems. Can I ask who you are? As in -- which Paul? St Paul?

Christian A said...

I just listened to the talk too. Fascinating. Especially that the Scrolls community were waiting for a messiah, who we know now was just a few years along the timeline from them.

Justin said...

Is that you Xn Ando?

Paul said...

Yes, I'm St Paul. Heaven's finally got broadband!

UncleEricSted said...

(A little late commenting - sorry!)

The text of the Dead Sea Scrolls was shrouded in secrecy for years, restricted to scholars with "legitimate" accesss. Then in 1991 some students at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati did some reverse engineering of sorts on some of the computer files of the scrolls that they had obtained access to, and this opened up the content of the scrolls to the wider world. More information is at this link:

http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/article.html

As a computer sort of person I find this an interesting kind of hacking, in the public interest!

byron said...

In case Christian never makes it back (Christian, sorry to imply that you might make a comment and never come back, but hey, we've all done it), yes, it is the same Xn Ando.

Anonymous said...

Aahh justin, you're not as post-modern as I thought!

Happy that you find comfort in Dead Sea Scrolls.

So do I.

Justin said...

Anon -- I'm not a post-modern. I'm not sure what I am. I guess that I know what it feels like to breathe a post-modern world.

Can I ask who you are?