Back in the middle of the 20th Century there was an amazing discovery.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were found between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves situated on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea near Jerusalem.
The Scrolls are a collection of about 900 documents including texts from the Hebrew Bible.
Zane Edwards, a theologian and archaeologist who works with the Bible Society, told Vision listeners of his love for these scrolls and the visits he has made to the site where they were found.
“I’ve travelled a number of times to Israel and to Qumran where the scrolls were discovered,” Zane said, saying the discovery has added credibility and reliability to the Biblical accounts.
“When you think about it it’s amazing that such old scrolls could remain undiscovered for such a long time.”
“For Biblical scholars the opportunity to access some original scrolls that date from around the time of Christ and before, and now some 2000 years later, and to be able to compare them with the modern Scriptures, that’s an amazing opportunity,” Zane declared.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have all been published on the internet after being unavailable for general viewing since their discovery.
But has the historic find made a difference to Biblical scholarship?
Zane Edwards said their main contribution has been to confirm the authenticity of the Scriptures.
“The real key with ancient Scriptures and manuscripts is comparing the differences that occur as you move through the centuries.”
“Obviously the older the manuscripts you have access to the more information there is about changes or shifts that might have occurred over the years,” Zane informed.
“The big opportunity with the Dead Sea Scrolls has been to get a snapshot in time from 2000 years ago and see what the Scriptures looked like then.”
That said, the significance as far as Zane is concerned is that the Scriptures are the same today as they were back then.
“The manuscripts have come down through the ages and have been recorded faithfully and very reliably,” Zane could confirm.
So the unbelievers who say they can’t trust the reliability of the Bible have been given less reason to take that stance.
“When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and weren’t immediately published it started to be suggested that maybe it was a conspiracy and something people wanted to hide,” Zane said, but no longer as the scrolls are now in the public domain.
“I think time has gone on to show there’s been no conspiracy and everything is good and we can have absolute faith in the Scriptures we have today.”
Zane Edwards also recommends doing a Google search for the scrolls.
He said one of the values of going back to the original language is the huge depth of meaning that may not be readily apparent in a simple one for one translation.
“One of the things to understand is that translation is not a one for one exercise. In other words, the meanings ascribed to particular words, the sentence structure, the grammatical structure, that all varies from language to language,” Zane outlined.
“That’s where it becomes really interesting. To discover the little nuances and the way the sentences and paragraphs are put together.”
Zane Edwards has had a life-long interest in archaeology. His travels in pursuit of this interest have taken him to many of the world’s most fascinating and historic destinations.
He is a frequent visitor to the Middle East and has led tours in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Greece. Zane is well qualified to speak on this intriguing and important topic.
He majored in theology in his arts degree, holds a masters’ degree in business administration and leadership, and also studied archaeology at post-graduate level.
He is currently working in public sector financial management in Canberra, where he is well known for his lively and dynamic presentations. A member of the International Coaching Federation, Zane has run many workshops and seminars in Australia and New Zealand and has appeared on television in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and in the Middle East.