APU’s Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Published

by University Relations

After years of systematic examination, transcription, and analysis of five rare Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) manuscripts, Azusa Pacific’s School of Theology faculty team will publish its findings as a volume in an early 2018 series of the prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea Scrolls Project. In 2009, APU’s Special Collections library acquired the biblical antiquities for scholarly study and preservation for posterity. APU’s team collaborated with colleagues at Princeton Theological Seminary to prepare the 2,000-year-old manuscripts for publication and to join other recently published volumes of Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Schøyen and Museum of the Bible collections.

APU’s five fragments include portions of the book of Leviticus, the book of Deuteronomy, and the book of Daniel, inscribed within a century of Christ’s time on Earth. The Daniel fragment may be the world’s oldest existing manuscript of Daniel 5:13-16. Further, the university’s Deuteronomy 27 fragment features a unique reading in verse 4 that agrees with the Samaritan Torah, which gives scholars new insights into the relationship between Judaism and Samaritanism in antiquity.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been described as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever. They include the oldest biblical manuscripts in existence. Scholars credit the scrolls for increasing knowledge of the origins of Christianity and revolutionizing their understanding of Judaism. Some of the manuscripts contain wording found in no other Hebrew manuscript, thus providing scholars with a unique opportunity to more accurately interpret Scripture and integrate that information into the existing body of biblical scholarship. As these teams continue their pursuit and analysis of these and other ancient artifacts, they significantly advance modern biblical research and deepen understanding for Christians throughout the world.

Originally published in the Fall '17 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.