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Search within my subject: Select What they found instead was the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia and the rich literary heritage which had been buried under the sands for centuries. Iconic stories such as the Fall of Man and the Great Flood, they found, were not unique to the Bible at all but had already been written down centuries before the Hebrew scribes revised them in their own work. The great law code of Moses, thought to be the first in history, was discovered to have had a predecessor in the Law Code of Ur-Nammu and the more famous Code of Hammurabi.
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Excavations in Egypt, meanwhile, found no evidence for the story of the enslavement of the Hebrews under the pharaoh of Egypt nor any for the other details found in the Book of Exodus. Once ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were able to be read, the myths of Egypt were found to have similarities to the Christian figure of the dying and reviving god and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to have taken on many of the attributes and epithets of the Egyptian goddess Isis.
As stories of these discoveries became more widely known, belief in the Bible as the word of God began to change to an understanding of the work as inspired by God or as scripture written by inspired men. Although many people throughout the world today continue to believe in the Bible as the authoritative word of God, this belief is not as widespread as it was prior to the 19th century CE. The interpretation of the Bible in the present day is largely a matter of individual understanding without the societal expectation which informed western society prior to the work of scholars, archaeologists, and historians in the 19th century CE.
These individuals changed the world by radically revising people's understanding of history and the Bible and opening up avenues of inquiry which greatly broadened human knowledge. The revised understanding of the Bible and its place in history upset many people at the time and continues to in the modern day but, to many others, the beauty of the Bible's language and the grand vision of redemption it presents is undiminished by the revisionist revelations of the 19th century CE.
The Bible continues to inspire and encourage people around the world, translated into every language, and remains the best-selling book of all time. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers.
Become a Member. Mark, J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J. Last modified September 02, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 02 Sep Written by Joshua J.
Complete Catalog: Religious Studies
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 02 September Remove Ads Advertisement. Bibliography Bauer, S. The History of the Ancient World. Peace Hill Press, Darwin, C. The Origin of Species. Signet, About the Author Joshua J.
The third and perhaps most interesting category of documents found among the Dead Sea Scrolls are those that appear to be unique to Qumran. Sometimes called sectarian documents, these are scripture-like texts used by the Qumran inhabitants to define the nature, outlook, and rules of the community. Written on very thin parchment, the text turned out to be about 27 feet long, although not intact by comparison the great Isaiah scroll from Cave 1 is 22 feet long and is intact.
Dating to about the second century before Christ but presented as the words of God to Moses, the Temple Scroll text supplies laws dealing with issues important to the Qumran group. The Qumran community believed that the Jerusalem temple was full of corruption. Another reason for Latter-day Saint interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls community is the theme of apostasy and restoration found among both groups. The scrolls indicate that the Qumran sectarians regarded themselves as the true Israel surrounded by spiritual traitors and false brethren in a corrupt world.
They possessed the true covenant that God had restored or renewed with them. No wonder Latter-day Saints are interested in the documents of a people whose circumstances and geographical habitation parallel their own history. The basic ideal for the covenant makers at Qumran was to live as though they were in the midst of the temple itself every minute of every day.
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But such was not the case. The Qumran sectarians were a unified community that recognized the apostate condition of Judaism and inaugurated reforms focusing their own lives on the tenets of true religion under the Mosaic dispensation, but they also embraced notions contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Qumran community did not believe that anyone had the right to worship in the name of the Lord unless a quorum of 10 individuals gathered in the company of a priest.
The Dead Sea Scrolls provide valuable information about a complex time period to which Latter-day Saints and all Christians, for that matter trace their spiritual roots. As we compare and contrast some of our own ideas and practices with those at Qumran, we can better appreciate the hopes, fears, convictions, expectations, and aims of the ancient people of that covenant community.
They witnessed firsthand the apostate conditions among the leadership and priesthood of Judaism in their day. They tried to do something about it. They accomplished much, but without the Melchizedek Priesthood and authorized prophets they erred in many things.
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Latter-day Truth
We are given an extraordinary window of insight into the religious climate that spawned Pharisaic Judaism and fostered early Christianity, which, like the Qumran community, was another group of restorationists. By examining the Dead Sea Scrolls we also come to appreciate the interconnection of ideas and texts across dispensations.
The scrolls have given to the world the oldest biblical manuscripts yet discovered, and they help us understand the history of our modern version of the Bible. While we must use caution in making more of the parallels between our faith and the Qumran sect than is appropriate, we can certainly see how some of the theological ideas found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could have been perfectly at home in an authentic ancient setting.
It is important to remember, though, that LDS doctrines and practices paralleling some of the ideas found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were in fact brought forth by Joseph Smith long before the discovery of those ancient documents.