New Genesis Text from the Judaean Desert 10   Recently updated!

UPDATE: January 15, 2019 – On Twitter Årstein Justnes said that this fragment was one of the texts acquired by the Museum of the Bible shown to be a fake.

I have not followed the controversy closely so I do not know how it has been verified that it is a fake. You can see his site for “Post-2002 Dead Sea Scrolls-like Fragments Online: A (Really Exhausting) Guide for the Perplexed.”

Update: Dr. Justnes wrote to direct me to the release from the MOB, “Museum of the Bible Releases Research Findings on Fragments in Its Dead Sea Scrolls Collection.” It does not have any details on which fragments, but Dr. Justnes assures me it was one of those tested.

From the press release:

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2018—Today Museum of the Bible announced the results of third-party analysis of five of its 16 Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) fragments. Utilizing leading-edge technology, the German-based Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) has performed a battery of tests and concluded that the five fragments show characteristics inconsistent with ancient origin and therefore will no longer be displayed at the museum.

For context, this was originally posted in 2007 and was presented by Charlesworth at the 2007 IOSOT Conference in Llubjana Slovenia.

NB: This is all preliminary and I am not sure how accurate my notes are. With that being said…

Today James Charlesworth presented an image of a fragment (in two parts) that he acquired on 25 October 2006. He said it had been in Zurich since the 50’s and reportedly came from Kando. Some details (and please note, these are Charlesworth’s comments and views):

  • One fragment in two pieces under glass. (The sellers put the smaller piece in the wrong place, it goes below the larger piece.)
  • Dimensions: I didn’t get those down…
  • Back: abraided leather, no ink.
  • No stitching.
  • No guide lines, horizontal or vertical.

The text:

  • Gen. 32:3-7a
  • Matches MT where extant.
  • A vacat is present before the first readable line.
  • No corrections
  • No sign of Qumran scribal school.
  • JC’s view of the paleography is c. 50-110 CE.
  • AMSC14 dates it from 95-195 CE.

JC believes it was found in the caves of the Dead Sea region. He wants scholars to report that he has tried to prove that it is a fake and he has been unable to so he asserts that it is authentic.

He also announced that he has acquired another 30 DSS fragments.

NB: The image that Lombatti posted is not that of the fragment shown by Charlesworth. It is pretty though. What fragment is it?


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10 thoughts on “New Genesis Text from the Judaean Desert

  • Matthew Hamilton

    Given (1)the date of the the fragment, (2) no sign of Qumran scribal school, and (3)the lack of any variations to the MT — any chance that it is from a site other than Qumran and is part of a previously published scroll? Did James Charlesworth discuss this aspect of the fragment?

    A fragment with Gen.32:3-7a would be close to the following non-Qumran Genesis MSS, all of which were acquired by purchase, and certainly the last 2 MSS were purchased from Kando (I don’t have on hand details of from whom MurGen(a) was purchased, but at least 1 fragment was purchased 14 January 1952)
    MurGen(a) has Gen.33:18-20; 34:1-3
    MurGen(b) has Gen.32:4-5,30,33.; 33:1; 34:5-7,30-31; 35:1,4-7
    Sdeir 1 has Gen.35:6-8,9(?),10,26-29.; 36:1-17

    A photo would make it possible to reconstruct the fragment relative to the other MSS and determine if it is related to any of those MSS. Presumably it is not from the same MS as Sdeir 1, as that MS has rulings present and is somewhat smooth on the back

  • Matthew Hamilton

    Photo tracked down — on blog of Antonio Lombatti. Style of letters of Charlesworth’s fragment is finer than the other MSS — so presumably is not from those MSS. Hence there is yet another MSS with text from this part of Genesis, in this case possibly from Qumran (Charlesworth in his IOSOT (IOQS) abstract refers to fragment as “Perhaps from Qumran”)

  • Chris Brady Post author

    Matthew the picture at Lombatti’s site is NOT a picture of Charlesworth’s fragment. Charlesworth only handed out photocopies to a few people in attendance so I do not have one but, as I said, he will post the images online later in August.

    Your other comments are all salient and there was some discussion of it and a general conclusion that until such time as we could really look at the images we could not come to any conclusions.

  • Pingback: The View from Jerusalem » New Manuscripts from Qumran or other Sources I

  • W. J. Chamberlin

    It is interesting whenever new biblical text are found. However, even more interesting is – When will the text be made available to the public along with an English translation?

  • Chris Brady Post author

    Well, the translation shouldn’t reveal much if, as Charlesworth said, the text matches MT. He stated the images would be available on the website in the autumn (see the article above for the link).