Confirmation And Consequences Of Dead Sea Scroll Identifications -- By: Anonymous
BSP 2:1 (Winter 1973) p. 15
Confirmation And Consequences
Of Dead Sea Scroll Identifications
Jesuit Priest José O’Callaghan shocked the scholarly world in March 1972 when he announced that he had identified fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls as portions of the New Testament dating to A.D. 50. (See BIBLE AND SPADE, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 35-42).
As with most new theories, the initial reaction from most scholars was one of criticism and rejection. This editor, however, has not seen any scholarly analysis which refutes Dr. O’Callaghan’s theory — only unsupported public statements. On the other hand, Dr. William White, an expert in linguistics, supports O’Callaghan’s identifications — not with off-the-cuff statements — but by academic investigation!
The following is taken from Dr. White’s latest article in The Westminister Theological Journal.
“Eternity Magazine was able to acquire a full set of original photographs of the fragments taken by Time Magazine photographer, David Rubinger, in Jerusalem. These proved to be a good four to five magnitudes better than the printed version [published in 1962]. Close examination of these prints, which show the fragments several times their original size, supported the original readings of O’Callaghan. Thus a secondary and exceedingly precise reassessment of the whole identification has been accomplished. In addition, exact stichometries [lengths of the lines of text] have been worked out and some advanced topological methods have been employed for possibly the first time on ancient papyri. The Westminister Theological Journal will report on this effort in the near future.
“These preliminary studies have pointed to confirmation of Dr. O’Callaghan’s identifications. But there are many other considerations which lend support to those identifications. Support is in fact given by at least ten important lines of evidence.”
Dr. White then goes on to list ten rather technical arguments, mainly linguistic, which support Dr. O’Callaghan’s work. Following
BSP 2:1 (Winter 1973) p. 16
this is a discussion of the consequences of the identifications. This section is perhaps a little “heavy” for the reader not versed in theology, but we are including it here in the belief that most laymen can grasp the significance of Dr. White’s comments.
“The textual implications are clear enough; we now have the oldest fragment of the New Testament yet uncovered and decisive evidence of the circulation of a number of New Testament books at an earlier date than had been assumed by many scholars. The theological implications are as yet quite unclear. However, it must be remembered that the theological...
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