Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls To the Digital Age

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the nothing-is-dead-on-the-internet dept.

Google 202

skade88 writes "Google has been working to bring many old manuscripts to the internet at high resolution for all to see. From their announcement: 'A little over a year ago, we helped put online five manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls—ancient documents that include the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence. Written more than 2,000 years ago on pieces of parchment and papyrus, they were preserved by the hot, dry desert climate and the darkness of the caves in which they were hidden. The Scrolls are possibly the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century. Today, we're helping put more of these ancient treasures online. The Israel Antiquities Authority is launching the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of some 5,000 images of scroll fragments, at a quality never seen before.'"

cancel ×

202 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42331939)

Hard to believe, but many, many people still believe the stories told in these documents are the literal word of God, rather than things that our Bronze Age ancestors cooked up to explain things they didn't understand and keep the population in line. Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables and things like this will be an archeological curiosity, and nothing more.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42331973)

Iron Age.
FIFY

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (5, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42332081)

More like bronze age, actually. Mideast bronze age ends 1200BC, as opposed to 600BC in Europe... Jewish scriptures changed tremendously during the Babylonian captivity, which indeed occurred around 600BC (it basically blended in ideas from Zoroastrianism, chiefly the ideas of angels, demons, hell, and basically morality and good vs evil; and its final written form got written around then), but the general ideas of judaism had been around for far older than the end of the mideast bronze age.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (4, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42332551)

They also adopted Zoroastrian monotheism. Prior to this, Yhvh was the local tribal patron god, in a monopolar paganism. The term is henotheism.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (5, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | about 2 years ago | (#42332733)

"Correlation does not imply causation" is a clear concept here at Slashdot--unless the topic is religion. In that case, any broad correlation is fully sufficient to demonstrate that Worldview X "stole" its concepts from Worldview Y.

But, let's get serious. Cite your primary-source documents, showing even the level of correlation, so that the evaluation of independent individuals, rather than your dogmatic posturing, can evaluate their relevance within the context of -overall- similarity.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2, Insightful)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42331999)

The stories in the scrolls seem more like fables to explain wtf they saw like the ones about the war between angels. I wouldnt discount them as pure fiction, but I wouldnt rationalize modern day wars and crusades based on them either.

The unfortate thing is you really need a degree in hebrew to use the site, otherwise you take whatever little snippets and driblets there are at face value. I wish I had 10 years of theological knowledge and hebrew to go along with my strong background in IT, and military, and general understanding of science. It would make for some great inspiration for some wonderful sci-fi =P

P.S. we kill eachother and do stupid shit, not because of the words and the information, its because of the un-enlightened way in which we percieve and try to control the use of this information.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42332023)

Mostly Aramaic. Hebrew in the older stuff.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332085)

Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42332173)

Thanks both for your input on the languages.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 2 years ago | (#42332231)

You don't need to speak Hebrew - everything has been translated and annotated. It's an easy Google to get the documents online, Penguin Books has a 7th edition of a complete translation. There isn't anything in the scrolls that would be of special interest to sci-fi (at least, no more than a standard Old Testament/collection of apocrypha).

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332075)

Dont know if we are smarted but there certainly a lot more self rightious, intolarent, and judgemental folkes around, specially on this here internet. May God have mercy on your soul.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (5, Interesting)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332129)

Hard to believe, but many, many people still believe the stories told in these documents are the literal word of God

I don't know a lot of religions where the sacred book is advertised as containing the literal word of God. Most are (allegedly) God-inspired. The closer you get from the "source" is with the Q'ran because it was never translated - however it was written from memory by followers of Muhammad so if this was a CSI episode one would have to admit that the chain of evidence is somehow broken.

In any event by suggesting that those books are *not* inspired by God (which according to current scientific knowledge may or may not exist) you are taking a position that is not supported by established facts, therefore promoting yourself a "fable". If you want to drape yourself in the cloth of Science make sure you follow its basic tenets. Hypothesis are only the 2nd step in the scientific method.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332241)

I don't know a lot of religions where the sacred book is advertised as containing the literal word of God.

I don't know of a lot of religions, but I sure know a lot of people that believe that.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332379)

Uh oh, turning burdens of proof around again!?!
I say the Easter Bunny wrote all those books! But he stole most of it from the FSM. All just as plausible as any other fairy tales. Without proof of existence all the gods are just like any other imaginary character.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332695)

Uh oh, turning burdens of proof around again!?!
I say the Easter Bunny wrote all those books! But he stole most of it from the FSM. All just as plausible as any other fairy tales. Without proof of existence all the gods are just like any other imaginary character.

Unless you live in France, the burden of proof is always on the accuser. So if you want to get your panties in a bunch because some people believe in God, you need some kind of evidence that they are wrong, it's not the other way around.

Your personal belief that there is no God is not a fact (unless someone is writing an article about you) and therefore does not qualify as evidence. This belief is shared by about 10% of the American population (14% world-wide) so that makes you part of a minority. Which means that even if the existence of God was to be decided by a jury, by an election or by an "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" process, odds are that God would win.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (-1, Offtopic)

ldcroberts (747178) | about 2 years ago | (#42332909)

your assertion that there is a lack of scientific evidence for god is completely incorrect. Science has identified god as a spirit of consciousness that exists across a diverse group of humans, all acting as part of a bigger system. In the same way that bee hives have been shown to be like giant minds, so is god. Anyone denying this exists scientifically should be made aware of this fact.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (4, Informative)

another_twilight (585366) | about 2 years ago | (#42333033)

completely incorrect

Science

fact

These words do not mean what you think they mean.

I love systems that give rise to emergent behaviour at sufficient levels of complexity. I have no problem seeing the interactions of people as giving rise (having already started to give rise?) to something like this. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by a 'spirit of consciousness', but it's the most ... generous interpretation I can come up with.

In any event calling that 'god' is ignoring the very different definition of that word that most people have and comes across as dishonest. I would be interested in a citation or link to what you are claiming as 'fact'.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1, Insightful)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 2 years ago | (#42332973)

The burden of proof with respect to the existence of God is always on the theist, not the atheist.

And no, I am not an atheist.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

petman (619526) | about 2 years ago | (#42333151)

The closer you get from the "source" is with the Q'ran because it was never translated - however it was written from memory by followers of Muhammad so if this was a CSI episode one would have to admit that the chain of evidence is somehow broken.

Not quite. The verses of the Quran was in fact transcribed word for word during the time of Muhammad. It was later compiled and the script standardised after Muhammad's death.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#42332133)

I noticed the little watermark DRM in the corner of the scrolls, so I'd say we're just as stupid.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42332161)

Mod parent up. If these fragments were truly the word of god, then surely they would contain useful information that would increase our knowledge of the world/universe and would remain true even today. Instead, we get re-worked fables plagiarized from other sources, tribal customs codified into law, doomsday prophecies, and rants against various enemies (all of which the old testament is full of).

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332347)

Mod parent up. If these fragments were truly the word of god, then surely they would contain useful information that would increase our knowledge of the world/universe and would remain true even today. Instead, we get re-worked fables plagiarized from other sources, tribal customs codified into law, doomsday prophecies, and rants against various enemies (all of which the old testament is full of).

[emphasis mine]

Your claim probably makes sense to a lot of people in modern industrialized societies, but actually depends on a lot of assumptions about what a god would want.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42332611)

god wants steak.

oh wait, that's dog. I confused the owt.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42332863)

People then thought that what they wrote on especially expensive, meant to last a very long time material was very, very important information. They took great strides to ensure those writings would be preserved for future mankind. Now that's us who can benefit from whatever can be discerned from it. Perhaps taking a smug, dismissive attitude that today we know far more than they knew then might turn out to be very short sighted on our part. Why not wait until their meaning is fully known and understood before taking such a superior stance?

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42333119)

god wants steak.

oh wait, that's dog. I confused the owt.

Have you heard the one about the agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac who lies in bed awake at night wondering is there is a dog?

I desire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42333127)

Macaroni pictures.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332745)

Your claim probably makes sense to a lot of people in modern industrialized societies, but actually depends on a lot of assumptions about what a god would want.

It may well be that the god in question is an aquatic creature whose only interest lies in counting numbers from 0 to infinity and enjoying the silence of depths. Such a god would indeed command us to do things that we'd never guess. However what use such a god would be for us if we do not share anything with him? If he commands us to go and jump into the water, shall we?

In practice, most (if not all) gods are somewhat homomorphic, and they pretend to be either the parents of the humankind or at least someone who is related to us. They exhibit human characteristics like anger and jealousy. This means that a modern god should be somewhat understandable by his believers. Even the Christian god is declared to be all-loving and such, as if anyone could know for sure. All the facts are, actually, against such a theory - the loving god has a very strange way of expressing his love, from fields of war to schools in small towns. You will find far more miracles in the old Star Trek, where they don't matter, than in real life - where they do.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332361)

Interesting that you don't think the information of not murdering, not cheating on people, not lying to people and loving your enemy is not useful information. It also tells how to beat death which you would think is significant also. Aren't these things true for today still?

What are the other sources that you believe it's plagiarized from? As the article says this is one of the earliest known pieces of writing.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42332491)

By useful information, I meant something that would helped helped people living in that era improve their quality of life. For instance, scientific or medical information (cures for common diseases would have been nice) instead of the ritualistic rubbish found in Leviticus. Do you really need some religion to tell you that murdering, rape, stealing, etc. is wrong? IIRC the story of the garden of Eden comes from Mesopotamia and is something the Hebrews picked up during the exile. The Epic of Gilgamesh (which is older than Genesis) contains a remarkably similar flood myth.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (5, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#42332617)

An ethical code is probably more important in some ways than a lot of scientific knowledge. Granted the ethical code may be messed up. However the emphasis of what is important or not is a tough subject in itself.

While we don't need religion to tell us that murder is wrong, perhaps we do need something to tell us other things. For instance, what tells us that charity is good? I have coworkers who have told me that I'm stupid for giving money to charities, which says to me that it's basic ethical ideas are not clear to even modern people in modern societies. Even something simple like "treat others how you'd like to be treated yourself" is a new concept to far too many people today.

Look at new testament for other examples, where instead of just saying that murder is wrong it says that even thinking about murder is also wrong, one's internal actions can be just as important as external actions. Other religions and ethical structures also have the same idea. Modern psychology could also tell us this but I don't think it would have as big an impact.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332647)

Or, maybe things like the "quality of life" are actually not as important as we think they are.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42332921)

Or, maybe things like the "quality of life" are actually not as important as we think they are.

That would depend on what your definition of 'quality of life' is. For some it's having material possessions. Others, helping fellow humans or animals. Might mean discovering the unknown for some. Or to be happy. Some take a lifelong pursuit of the divine. Whatever floats your boat.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 years ago | (#42332953)

By useful information, I meant something that would helped helped people living in that era improve their quality of life. For instance, scientific or medical information (cures for common diseases would have been nice)...

And if God came to you today and told you that curing cancer is as simple as inverting the deflector dish and using a tachyon pulse generator connected to a Heisenberg compensator to reverse the quantum polarity of the cancer cells, would that be helpful?

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42333081)

The ritualistic stuff in Leviticus was to insure it got taught to the next generation as it made it seem important to their souls survival in the afterlife, and there was a lot in there about health for example the ban on pork could be so tha they would not get trichinosis. It also banned marring of close relatives which is definitely good thing for genetic diversity and over all populations health, (that one was obviously good I mean look a pharaonic Egypt where the ruling family married siblings and cousins to keep a pure bloodline which left them with debilitating health problems). It baned polygamy and sex out side of monogamous marriage which is great for a society that lack condoms and has no other way to stop std's from spreading let alone detect or treat them. Leviticus also contains much in the way of basic sanitation and on personal hygiene, very useful for bronze age society that lacks soap that had recently escaped enslavement where they were treated like animals. It also implemented a justice system and basic legal structure and common system of shared ethics that we can all agree on (don't steal don't murder). all necessary for the building blocks for "modern" society.

if you tried to explain any of the real causes behind diseases or give them medical/scientific information they would think you a nutter. (you tell them the water down stream of the latrine has little bugs in it that will get inside of them and make them sick the would look in the water not see bugs and say your crazy, you make it a decree that their immortal soul is in the balance and the will pay attention)

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#42332503)

Agreed with your first point 100%.

To comment on the your second point. It is a fact that the Torah was "plagiarized" from other sources:

* The Noahic flood comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh.
* The 10 commandments come from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, chapter 125. That is 9 out of the 10.

But who cares _where_ a _good_ law comes from if it is for the benefit of society. Only arm-chair critics! We have had the wheel for thousands of years but people don't get into a pissing contest about who invented / discovered it.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42332631)

We have had the wheel for thousands of years but people don't get into a pissing contest about who invented / discovered it.

its either apple or samsung. one of those.

(what??)

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#42333133)

hehe ;-)

The iPod wheel was brilliant.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332375)

Mod parent and GP DOWN. There's nothing in either post that says anything about the Bible and what people actually, truly believe and instead simply reinforce a blatant stereotype by ignorant people about what's really in the Bible. The reality is there are a few nutjobs out there that take is the literal truth, and there are quite a few people who don't really care, but instead read the stories and see them as a guideline in how to live their own life, as it's meant to be.

There are hard core leftists that refer to all conservatives as "little Eichmann's", and those that believe that violent protest against modern police forces is a valid form of protest. They are a minority and do not define many leftist movements or people, just as the crackpot religious folk who take the Bible as truth do not define all Christians.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 2 years ago | (#42332431)

In the US, as of 2011, 3 in 10 people [gallup.com] believe the Bible is the literal word of God [wikipedia.org] . 49% believe it is inspired by God.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#42333105)

Literally two thirds of the people you meet have no idea how to use that word correctly.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#42332641)

I actually read the Bible cover to cover twice and I was not impressed. What "good" ethical advice there is in there can likely be found through other sources (Stoic philosophy and tenets of Buddhism) and the rest of it I want nothing to do with.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42332561)

Despite the fact that gods are a product of the human mind, the worshiper if forbidden from knowing the mind of God, which is a very neat trick that effectively prevents the worshiper from engaging in introspection. This god that lives as a mental construct inside the head of the worshiper is as "real" as any other perception, it's a human personality that manages the universe, it's not necessarily a benevolent personality, it might enjoy trolling humans via works such as the bible, maybe that's why it created us, perhaps we're its troll food and all the other gods are its sockpuppets. Their belief is not rational it's emotional, logic is not the cure, introspection and self-skepticisim is, only through these "self help" acts will the absurdity of one's religion/ideology become apparent to oneself.

Disclaimer: I have experienced vivid audio and visual hallucinations (from lack of sleep and severe dehydration), I have no doubt "god talks" to people.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332703)

Despite the fact that gods are a product of the human mind...

You actually have it backwards. Humans are a product of God's mind.

Humans aren't "forbidden" from knowing the mind of god so much as we are simply incapable of it... we are inextricably but a small _part_ of creation, and God is not even of creation at all. We simply have no intellectual frame of reference with which to understand or intellectually know him. a relationship with him would not even be possible for us if he did not actively desire it.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

Empiric (675968) | about 2 years ago | (#42332709)

They do contain useful information, increasing our knowledge of central issues of existence. That you do not acknowledge, within your framework of evaluation, their value, doesn't actually matter at all. Get Naturally Deselected, become totally irrelevant, and we'll move on.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#42333129)

If these fragments were truly the word of god, then surely they would contain useful information that would increase our knowledge of the world/universe and would remain true even today

The geek's notion of "useful information" usually translates as "isolated facts devoid of all meaningful connections."

The geek ought at least to know that a great of truth is embedded in the stories we tell and teach to our children. They do not survive three millennia without a reason.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332163)

You over-simplify how the bible came up to be. It was a much more complex and rich proccess then "explaining things they didn't understand".

Claiming that means diminishing the accomplishments of our ancestors, and disses on one of the pillars of Western culture.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332223)

Hard to believe, but many, many people still believe the stories told in these documents are the literal word of God, rather than things that our Bronze Age ancestors cooked up to explain things they didn't understand and keep the population in line. Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables and things like this will be an archeological curiosity, and nothing more.

Even harder to believe that an A/C passed up on an opportunity for a First Post for some mere boilerplate trolling.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332383)

Hard to believe, but many, many people still believe the stories told in these documents are the literal word of God, rather than things that our Bronze Age ancestors cooked up to explain things they didn't understand and keep the population in line. Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables and things like this will be an archeological curiosity, and nothing more.

Even harder to believe that an A/C passed up on an opportunity for a First Post for some mere boilerplate trolling.

I don't know if there's a god, but if there is.... he's one sick bastard.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42332265)

Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables and things like this will be an archeological curiosity, and nothing more.

I thought that was the whole point of digitizing them? Look, even the US Constitution and things like Copyright Law have become worth nothing of value to any but archaeologists -- They need to be updated to remain relevant. The difference is that legal documents are ideas, they can be changed easily, but religions are based on beliefs that typically can't easily be changed without destroying the religion.

With a good solid reference to look back on, as time goes on the unchangable ideas become less relevant -- Some are worth 3/5ths of a man; Information Scarcity Laws; Homosexuality is evil. At some point new comers are too rational to believe in things that are so dissonant with reality. Without a solid record to reflect on anyone can change history and cling to the other tangential outmodded ideas longer.

It's already happening, many "believers" I've met, even priests, have told me they don't believe in everything that's in the religious texts -- They're quick to provide their own interpretations to match the times -- Much like the content industry says "a limited time" can mean copyright of three generations of humans, or how the Supreme Court says "congress shall make no law" doesn't apply to the Internet -- They can't do this forever. Not too many devout followers of Zeus around nowadays, eh? The same will happen to the other religions, they'll be taken just as serious as one who says they believe in ancient Greek / Roman gods. The same will happen to our laws as well. It's a law of natural selection: Anything that can not adapt to its environment becomes extinct; This applies to ideas as well as organisms.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (3, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#42332271)

To answer your question:

"The easiest form of parochialism to fall into is to assume that we are smarter than the past generations, that our thinking is necessarily more sophisticated. This may be true in science and technology, but not necessarily so in wisdom."

That quote is from the introduction to this brilliant essay: "Macaulay on Copyright"
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/25/1345/03329 [kuro5hin.org]

> Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables ...
Stories will never go away. Why? What is the purpose of a story? To teach a moral -- it doesn't matter if the story historically happened or not IF you learn the lesson.

Besides, the disciple Peter already commented on how scriptures should be used that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam continues to ignore:

The allegorical nature of scipture:

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

The contradictions in the scriptures:

For, according to the rule delivered to them, they endeavor to correct the discordances of the Scriptures, if any one, haply not knowing the traditions, is confounded at the various utterances of the prophets. Wherefore they charge no one to teach, unless he has first learned how the Scriptures must be used. And thus they have amongst them one God, one law, one hope."

The prophets were sent to the spiritual immature minded:

"Since, therefore, both to the Hebrews and to those who are called from the Gentiles, believing in the teachers of truth is of God, while excellent actions are left to every one to do by his own judgment, the reward is righteously bestowed upon those who do well. For there would have been no need of Moses, or of the coming of Jesus, if of themselves they would have understood what is reasonable."

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

Empiric (675968) | about 2 years ago | (#42332833)

Besides, the disciple Peter already commented on how scriptures should be used that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam continues to ignore:

Depends on which subset you are referencing. Origen of Alexandria, as one of the "fathers" of the Christian Church, was arguing for allegorical interpretation of Genesis in the second century AD. I wouldn't form your notion of the demographics based on Bishop Ussher's 17'th century error and the subsequent Straw Men characterizations issuing lately primarily from Dawkins et al. History simply isn't one of science "stepping in" and correcting the supposed universal Christian error of Young Earth Creationism. History just didn't happen that way.

Overall, though, interesting post.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#42333027)

I am quite well aware of Origen's position. :-) Sadly, too many modern-day Christians think they know the gospel better then a 2nd century scholar!

For the benefit of other readers you are referring to:

"What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second and third days in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and stars, and the first day without a heaven. What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in paradise in Eden, like a husbandman, and planted therein the tree of life, perceptible to the eyes and senses, which gave life to the eater thereof; and another tree which gave to the eater thereof a knowledge of good and evil? I believe that every man must hold these things for images, under which the hidden sense lies concealed."

  - Origen - Huet., Prigeniana, 167 Franck, p. 142

This theme is repeated over and over by those who understood the literal, allegorical, and spiritual multi-dimensional nature of the scriptures:

Paul states that "their minds were blinded" by God, "for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament⦠even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart" (2 Cor 3:14-15 KJV).

Theologians Moses Maimonedes says the same thing:

"Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit"

And more importantly, Rabbi Simeon:

"If a man looks upon the Torah as merely a book presenting narratives and everyday matters, alas for him! Such a torah, one treating with everyday concerns, and indeed a more excellent one, we too, even we, could compile. More than that, in the possession of the rulers of the world there are books of even greater merit, and these we could emulate if we wished to compile some such torah. But the Torah, in all of its words, holds supernal truths and sublime secrets.

"See how precisely balanced are the upper and the lower worlds. Israel here below is balanced by the angels on high, concerning whom it stands written: "who makest thy angels into winds" (Psalms 104:4). For when the angels descend to the earth they don earthly garments, else they could neither abide in the world, nor could it bear to have them. But if this is so with the angels, then how much more so it must be with the Torah: the Torah it was that created the angels and created all the worlds and through Torah are all sustained. The world could not endure the Torah if she had not garbed herself in the garments of this world. (temple of Solomon, and within us)

"Thus the tales related in the Torah are simply her outer garments, and woe to the man who regards that outer garb as the Torah itself, for such a man will be deprived of portion in the next world. Thus David said: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law" (Psalms 119:18), that is to say, the things that are underneath. See now. The most visible part of a man are the clothes that he has on, and they who lack understanding, when they look at the man, are apt not to see more in him than these clothes. In reality, however, it is the body of the man that constitutes the pride of his clothes, and his soul constitutes the pride of his body.

"So it is with the Torah. Its narrations which relate to the things of the worlds constitute the garments which clothe the body of the Torah; and that body is composed of the Torah's precepts, gufey-torah (bodies, major principles). People without understanding see only the narrations, the garment; those somewhat more penetrating see also the body. But the truly wise, those who serve the most high King and stood on mount Sinai, pierce all the way through to the soul, to the true Torah which is the root principle of all. These same will in the future be vouchsafed to penetrate to the very soul of the soul of the Torah.

"See now how it is like this in the highest world, with garment, body, soul and super-soul. The outer garments are the heavens and all therein, the body is the Community of Israel and it is the recipient of the soul, that is 'the Glory of Israel'; and the soul of the soul is the Ancient Holy One. All of these are conjoined one within the other.

"Woe to the sinners who look upon the Torah as simply tales pertaining to things of the world, seeing thus only the outer garment. But the righteous whose gaze penetrates to the very Torah, happy are they. Just as wine must be in a jar to keep, so the Torah must also be contained in an outer garment. That garment is made up of the tales and stories; but we, we are bound to penetrate beyond."

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

Empiric (675968) | about 2 years ago | (#42333341)

Nice. Finally, I have the sense that I can Slashdot-retire. ;)

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332325)

So you are saying that the apostle Paul who wrote most of the new testament wrote it to keep the population in line? Despite the fact that he had no sort of govermental or leadership role outside of the church and was in fact put under house arrest by the Roman government. That argument doesn't make sense.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (-1, Flamebait)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 2 years ago | (#42332331)

Why is it that most successful people believe in God, but most basement dwellers who live on the internet are atheists?

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332797)

Why is it that most successful people believe in God

I wouldn't call myself entirely unsuccessful - and I don't believe in gods of any sort. I know other people who are also doing OK, and they have no need for an invisible man in the sky to guide their hand. IMO, successful people are successful not because they pray a lot but because they work a lot. This independence is an obstacle for many religious notions. The typically high IQ of successful people is yet another problem for religionists.

But if you have some specific religious and successful people (self-made, not inheritors!) in mind, then they have to face the Pascal's Wager. Those guys have a lot to lose. But a small candle and 15 minutes as a gratitude for another $1B in profits or for another year of good health is a small price to pay.

Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (1)

drankr (2796221) | about 2 years ago | (#42332485)

The trouble is not that they believe but that they're also very ready to discriminate, abuse, hate and kill. So my question would be, are we more humane?

Where do they put all of those digitized works? (2)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | about 2 years ago | (#42331951)

I've been typing recaptchas every day like a maniac for years. Where are they offering these works I helped digitize?

Re:Where do they put all of those digitized works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332011)

Google books and your ability to search PDF documents that weren't digitally written.

Re:Where do they put all of those digitized works? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332025)

You do recaptchas in ancient Aramaic?

Re:Where do they put all of those digitized works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332389)

Don't suggest this!! I have a hard enough time as it is...

Re:Where do they put all of those digitized works? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42332649)

look man, I've got no time for details. I just type what I see.

Not interesting.... (1, Informative)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about 2 years ago | (#42332015)

Rather than reading fables, I would prefer to see some of the manuscripts from Leonardo Da Vinci. Now, that would be something interesting and worth spending my time with!

Re:Not interesting.... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332255)

Rather than reading fables, I would prefer to see some of the manuscripts from Leonardo Da Vinci. Now, that would be something interesting and worth spending my time with!

And I want to see The Illustrated Perils of Gwendolyn, but sometimes you have to take what you get.

Re:Not interesting.... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42333223)

The Illustrated Perils of Gwendolyn

You had to bring that up. I still haven't gotten over the fact that Tawny Kitaen didn't win an Oscar for her performance.

Some wounds just don't heal, you know.

Re:Not interesting.... (4, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332297)

Talk about throwing pearls to the pigs... You must be one of those entitled Gen-Y.

Here is an idea that would be "worth your time" [1]: why don't you build an internet company that is worth billions of dollars then use some of the profits to fund a project where Leonardo Da Vinci's manuscripts are being found (or made available), digitized and published online for all to see?

I suspect that the day you accomplish that, your opinion about the Dead Sea scrolls will have a bigger impact. Meanwhile feel free to tweet about it, I'm sure your 8 followers will be delighted, you may even get a Like if posted on Facebook.

[1] with those quotes around "worth your time" I hope to convey how annoyed I get by reading the part of your comment where you talk about things that are worth spending your time with.

Re:Not interesting.... (1)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about 2 years ago | (#42332889)

sounds to me like you are the kind of person that likes to have his life "guided" by absurd ideas about non existing dieties. Perhaps you should go to some "sacred" place and pray that intelligen people cease to exist so you can have your way without anyone questioning what you do or say. Just repeat the same brain numbing sentences (Prayers) over and over again expecting them to work. Absolute waste of time.

Re:Not interesting.... (1)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42333185)

You are not very good at insulting people because you lack empathy, which is another tell-tale sign of a Gen-Y entitled brat.

What makes me nauseous is not the God/no-God part of the discussion; it's the fact that you stated that those scrolls that were written 2000 years ago and that Google was kind enough to digitize for everyone to see are not *worthy* of your time.

Instead of being amazed that you have access (for free) to such valuable historical artefacts (a privilege that was limited to a very small number of people until now) you come out and complain that you'd rather see documents from Leonardo Da Vinci - themselves written at a time where those unworthy Dead See scrolls were already about 1500 years old.

A vast majority of the emails sent worldwide since the last time you charged your iPod are gone forever; yet there is a bunch of documents written 2000 years ago on goatskin and papyrus that have survived (in part) until today. How can you not find that fascinating? These documents could be a wine merchant inventory and it would still be awesome.

Pearls to the pigs. 'Nuff said.

Some extra info (5, Insightful)

butalearner (1235200) | about 2 years ago | (#42332041)

I can't find the percentage of identified vs. unidentified, but among the identified scrolls:

40% are copies of text from the Hebrew Bible
30% are copies of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. fanfiction) from the Second Temple Period like the Books of Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, Sirach, and additional psalms
30% are "sectarian manuscripts" - texts that describe rules or a set of beliefs held by certain groups within Judaism.

Re:Some extra info (2)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42332155)

30% are copies of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. fanfiction) from the Second Temple Period

For using the expression "fanfiction" to describe Dead Sea scrolls, you sir deserve a mod point I don't have.

Disclaimer: I opted out of the moderation system because I do not trust collective wisdom.

Re:Some extra info (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332193)

A text not being canonized means a text known today that does not belong to the Bible, or means an unknown text that does not belong to the Bible.
It its the latter, then it might simply mean that the text was lost, as opposed to not being accepted as cannon.

Re:Some extra info (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332289)

30% are copies of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. fanfiction)

I don't think you can characterize ancient texts that way. Canonization is a complex "theopolitical" process, and what gets in and what is left out doesn't necessarily have much to do with its quality, or who wrote it, or when (unless of course it was written after the canonization process was complete.) It's mostly a matter of whether the influential people in the society that does the canonization think a document supports their views or conflicts with them.

Re:Some extra info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332337)

Agreed. Canonization also has nothing to do with reality. It is based on how effective a text will be for population control, as propaganda and for furthering the monetary and power goals of the organization.

TL:DR it's all fan fiction of an ancient superhero that (like modern ones) didn't exist.

Re:Some extra info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332519)

30% are copies of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. fanfiction)

I don't think you can characterize ancient texts that way.

And yet he did it anyways. *GASP*

Re:Some extra info (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 years ago | (#42333025)

A timely example is the story of the Maccabees. Now, all that gets talked about is the successful rebellion. You don't hear much about the Hasmoneans after the end of the rebellion. Turns out that they weren't all that nice once they were in charge, so they were intentionally left out of the Bible.

Re:Some extra info (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42333313)

Sounds pretty much like what happens with, for example, Star Wars books, cartoons, etc. If you've got official sanction, either pre- or post- production, you're canon. Otherwise, you're not, and the compatibility of your work with the head honcho's vision is a major factor in the decision. Admittedly, with modern publishing and production money changes hands... oh, no, that's another probable similarity.

Re:Some extra info (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#42332883)

And here I thought all of it, canonized or not, was fan fiction of a sort. It's certainly mostly fiction, historical fiction in some cases but fiction nonetheless.

Re:Some extra info (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42333253)

30% are copies of texts not canonized in the Hebrew Bible (i.e. fanfiction)

You mean, "The Gospel According to Mary Sue"?

Pooh. (2, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332211)

The Scrolls are possibly the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century.

Atlantis was discovered hundreds of times during the 20th Century. Surely that adds up to more than a single discovery of some scrolls.

On a serious note, I'm skeptical of the claim anyway. We discovered entire civilizations we never previously knew existed, and a great number of unknown texts, entire unknown languages and writing systems, etc.

Re:Pooh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332401)

Considering that most modern Western societies used Jewish law as a starting point to subsequently build and develop their own law systems, considering that many non-Western societies have had their law systems influenced somewhat by Western societies, and seeing as the Dead Sea Scrolls shed some light on those legal systems and belief and in some ways challenge some of the previously held beliefs, then yes I'd say they're much more important than a society that is "unknown" and thus left no mark on the modern world. Ozymandais may have been great in his time, but the modern world couldn't care less.

Re:Pooh. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332707)

Considering that most modern Western societies used Jewish law as a starting point to subsequently build and develop their own law systems, considering that many non-Western societies have had their law systems influenced somewhat by Western societies, and seeing as the Dead Sea Scrolls shed some light on those legal systems and belief and in some ways challenge some of the previously held beliefs, then yes I'd say they're much more important than a society that is "unknown" and thus left no mark on the modern world. Ozymandais may have been great in his time, but the modern world couldn't care less.

You illustrate the problem of identifying "top" very well. It depends on who you are and what you think is important.

I doubt that many people in China would come to the same conclusion that you do.

A westerner of non-mainstream religious affiliation might set the Nag Hammadi library against the Dead Sea Scrolls. A secularist might name the decipherment of the Mycenean and Hittite scripts, Manu Pichu, Tutank's treasure, etc. If you consider hominid finds to be "archaeology", I would say that that stuff trumps all the rest by a huge margin.

Re:Pooh. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332723)

Forgot that little Code of Hammurabi thingy.

But the topic promises a pleasant evening of browsing on the internet.

Re:Pooh. (1)

petman (619526) | about 2 years ago | (#42333235)

Ozymandais? That super villain in that movie with that tall guy with the blue dong?

Re:Pooh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332453)

I disagree, the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century is a re-discovery of GIANTS who were 36 feet fucking tall.

Re:Pooh. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42332531)

Link?

Re:Pooh. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42332719)

Link?

I'm guessing that it won't quite fit in the margin.

Quality... (2)

SIR_Taco (467460) | about 2 years ago | (#42332405)

"...at a quality never seen before.'"

With the exception of when I saw them at the Royal Ontario Museum.

At a quality never seen before *online* maybe

Christians are mushrooms covered in god's jizz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332445)

Christians are mushrooms covered in god's jizz? Interesting, that explains a lot. Thanks John Marco Allegro, it's all starting to make sense now. If I were a mushroom covered in omnipotent spunk I too would want everyone else to join in on the festivities. Silly humans.

Sixty years to scrub them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332463)

Given the scrolls were hoarded by religious zealots for decades, I assume that any interesting scrolls (that say, for example, that Mary had a husband) have been hidden safely away from the public by now.

Re:Sixty years to scrub them (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42332515)

I assume that any interesting scrolls (that say, for example, that Mary had a husband) have been hidden safely away from the public by now.

Considering that the very first book of the New Testament says the following "Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary." Why would a manuscript saying that Mary had a husband be hidden?

Re:Sixty years to scrub them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332563)

The dead sea scrolls predate Christianity by about a century or so.

Nonetheless, of course Mary had a husband: Joseph. This is well documented, in multiple gospels.

Re:Sixty years to scrub them (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42333249)

Seeings as those "religious zealots" as you called them are Jewish, they would be more than happy to publish any docs that said Jesus was not who he claimed to be. Oh and he Marry did have a husband his name was Joseph (he is usually the guy to the right of Mary in the nativity scenes the one not holding a sheep or a tacky jewelery box) the four gospel all admit that. Also the weren't hidden away I personally went and saw them on display at the Seattle Science Center a couple of years ago. Troll harder next time.

Practical matter(s) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332501)

If it does not liberalize the "Who is a Jew" definition under the Law of Return, why bother.

Lots of uninformed opinions about the scrolls (2)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about 2 years ago | (#42332669)

It might be worth at least skimming a translation of the scrolls before forming a strong opinion about their content and value.

Yeah I know what site this is, and I'm not new here.

Something I think is worth keeping in mind....Just as there is ignorance now that rivals ancient ignorance, there was also intelligence in ancient times that rivals the best the modern world has to offer. Though its true that religious writings are largely fiction, a lot of very intelligent people worked on them, and there is significant understanding mixed in unevenly with the nonsense.

Modern academics are very good at understanding subjects where the same observations consistently yield the same statistical distribution of results. They're even better at studying things that can be perturbed in a controlled way, and dynamics that can be modeled well mathematically. They're generally very bad at understanding anything else. Many go so far as to assert that if a phenomena can't be modeled in a predictive way then for practical purposes it doesn't even exist. In this manner they ignore everything they're not good at solving. In my experience some ancient scriptures describe discoverably real aspects of life that modern experts are mostly ignorant of.

I didn't find much of interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but a lot of that is just me personally, it doesn't mean there's nothing there for anyone. Other old writings such as in the Nag Hammadi discovery have a lot of interesting content though, notwithstanding that they're not trustworthy as standards of truth. And I don't mean interesting from a historical perspective, I mean there is insight there that can not be found elsewhere.

Re:Lots of uninformed opinions about the scrolls (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42333351)

"In my experience some ancient scriptures describe discoverably real aspects of life that modern experts are mostly ignorant of."

Got some examples? I'm serious... curious whether you're referring to miracles and such or some of the philosophically valuable material. If the latter, I probably disagree that modern experts are ignorant of it, but agree that what passes as an "expert" currently may well be.

Slashdot wants to start here (0)

Empiric (675968) | about 2 years ago | (#42332775)

...whether you know it or not.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to someone and tell me whom I am like."
Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a righteous angel."
Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."
Thomas said to him, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like."
Jesus said, "I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out."
And he took him and withdrew and told him three things. When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?"
Thomas said to them, "If I tell you (even) one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up."


--Thomas

We know you better than you think.

Cheesemakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42332963)

So it DOES say "blessed are the cheesemakers".
I thought so.

The Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42333077)

Does this mean we can stop Catholicism from spreading lies and untruths with their edited version of the Bible which makes an idol/demi-god out of a certain anarchist that lived 2k years ago?

All religions are instigated by Loki (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42333101)

All religions are clearly instigated by Loki - Father of Lies, Sower of Strife.

He delights in telling different lies to different groups to trick them info fighting.

Just one look at the world proves Loki is real.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?