Jesus Discovered in Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scroll fragment "4Q451". Does it refer to Jesus?

Dead Sea Scroll fragment “4Q451”. Does it refer to Jesus?

My investigation into The Dead Sea Scrolls has just premiered on CuriosityStream, launched by John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel. CuriosityStream is the world’s first streaming service devoted exclusively to documentaries. The Dead Sea Scrolls report is part of five initial reports dealing with “Biblical Mysteries”. I believe my investigation sheds new light on The Dead Sea Scrolls, which are arguably the most famous archaeological artifacts ever found.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1946 and 1956, first by Bedouin goat-herds and then by archaeologists, in caves on the shores of the Dead Sea, next to the ancient settlement of Qumran.

The find caused an immediate sensation because the scrolls are a sort of ancient library, stored in clay vessels, that include the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible ever uncovered. Scholars have dated the scrolls from approximately 200 BCE to 70 CE (the date of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans at the end of the Great Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE)). Meaning, some of the scrolls were written and/or copied during the lifetime of Jesus of Nazareth.

From the moment of their discovery, some scholars suggested that at least some of the scrolls may be the work of early Christians. After all, a certain “Teacher of Righteousness” is mentioned as a persecuted figure and there is also a “Wicked Priest” and other characters that seem to mirror early Christianity. Most scholars, however, have dismissed any connection between the community that hid their scroll library some 2,000 years ago in caves at Qumran and the earliest followers of Jesus. Now, I’ve made a discovery that may change all this. Put simply, I believe that one of the fragments called by scholars by the very unappealing name of “4Q541” explicitly refers to Jesus.

I was first drawn to this fragment by the authoritative translation of The Dead Sea Scrolls by Florentino Garcia Martinez (1996, Brill). In fragment 24, column 2, the scroll refers to someone called “The Dove”. The writer of the scroll asks that the dove’s followers “not mourn for him”. And he further says; “do not bring the nail near him”. Given that Jesus is often identified with a “dove” (e.g., Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:22), and the Gospels explicitly refer to the “nails” of the crucifixion (e.g., John 20:24) and also to the “mourning” of his followers after the crucifixion (e.g., Luke 24:17), it seemed reasonable to me that “4Q541” may be referring to Jesus. So I looked up Martinez’s more complete “Study Edition” of The Dead Sea Scrolls (1997, Brill), which also supplies the Aramaic original, to see what I could learn. I learned a lot.

I learned that Martinez must have been nervous about the original reference to “the nail” and changed his translation. In the new edition, Martinez translated the Aramaic “Tsatsa” i.e., “nail”, as “nighthawk”. More than this, in the same section, I discovered – untranslated! – the word “[T]alia” – “cross” or “crucifixion” in Aramaic! Granted, the letter “Taf” i.e., “T” was missing in Martinez’s version of the original, but it sure seemed coincidental that a possible reference to the crucifixion was in the same fragment that I now believed was referring to Jesus. What was this all about I asked myself? Why were words being retranslated or not translated at all? Were scholars worried about finding Jesus in any ancient texts other than the New Testament?

I got access to the original fragment in the vaults of the “Shrine of the Book”, which is part of the Israel Museum. With the naked eye, I could clearly see part of the “Taf” in Talia/crucifixion. The word “Tsatsa” was also very clear. I interviewed Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Dr. Alexey Yuditsky and he told me that even though “Tsatsa” in the Syriac Aramaic spoken in Israel at the time of Jesus meant “nail”, it did mean “a bird of prey” like a “nighthawk” in an obscure text of Persian and Aramaic. He also said that scholars prefer not to translate “Talia”/crucifixion because the first letter of the word is not clear. When I pointed out that many words in The Dead Sea Scrolls are translated even though they are missing a letter, he shrugged and said, “depends on the word.”

So now I became really suspicious.

At this point, my investigation took me to the translator of the official translation of The Dead Sea Scrolls, Professor/Father Emil Puech from the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. I brought up the issues concerning the words “Talia” and “Tsatsa”. Father Puech is aware of the hesitation to translate the plain meaning of the words. As far as he is concerned, he is sticking to his authoritative first translation, which I now learned refers to both the nail and a crucifixion. From Puech’s perspective, there is no need to translate “Tsatsa” by reference to Persian Aramaic and there is no need to leave the word for crucifixion out of the translation. “There is enough left of the letter Taf to make the word ‘Talia’ very clear.”

But then Professor Puech surprised me. He said that “dove” was the natural translation of the Hebrew/Aramaic word “Yonah”, which appears in the text, but he preferred to translate it as “agitator” because, after all, the “dove” in early Christianity refers to Jesus. In other words, by his own admission, Puech purposely fudged the translation so that the reference to Jesus would be lost. Why did he do this? According to Father Puech, by definition, “The Dead Sea text can’t be referring to Jesus.”

So what are we left with? We are left with a text where some scholars are leaving out the “cross/crucifixion” word altogether, while others are substituting “nighthawk” for “nail”. At least one scholar substituted “agitator” for “dove”, based on his preconceived ideas about the content of The Dead Sea Scrolls.

The final stop in my investigation was at the offices of Dr. Robert Deutsch. When it comes to ancient texts, he is considered by many the number one Aramaic and Hebrew epigrapher in the world. What does this text say, I asked? Without hesitating, Dr. Deutsch answered; “It seems that this is a text written by the followers of Jesus after the crucifixion. They are telling each other not to focus on the ‘nail’ and the ‘crucifixion’ as ‘their enemy’ does, and not to overly ‘mourn’ their loss but, rather, to focus on the ‘eternal light’,” mentioned at the end of the fragment.

It’s too early to tell who the “enemy” referred to in the text is or what the message of the text is. What is certain, however, is that if fragment “4Q541” is referring to Jesus then, maybe, some of the other fragments are also referring to him. Based on this investigation, perhaps it’s time to reexamine The Dead Sea Scrolls and their translations.

See my report below:

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  • Misael

    Brovo, Shimcha! You’re my Hero.

  • Robert Tarwacki

    Simcha – Is anyone else struck by the amazing “coincidence” that the word “Yonah” can be translated as “dove” or “agitator?” Followers of Jesus may be happy with saying dove, while others who rejected Him as the Messiah, may prefer the word agitator, since Jesus threatened the status quo. One text for all readers. This duality in translation is quite profound, when you think about it.

  • Albert Trevino

    Great job Simcha for bring this information into the light for the public’s eye to see & judge.

    I too noted & highlighted page 561 when I reading Geza Vermes 2011 5th. edition of “The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English” published by Penguin Classics

    What caught my eye when reading fragment 9 of 4Q541 are the following:

    “He will atone for all the sons of his generation and will be sent to all the sons of his [peo]ple. His word is like a word of heaven, and his teaching is according to the will of God. His eternal sun will shine, and his fire will spring forth to all the ends of the earth, and will shine over darkness. The darkness will pass away [fr]om the earth, and deep darkness from the dry land.

    In addition I found interesting the following translated.

    “They will utter many words against him and many […]s. They will invent stories about him. Evil will overturn his generation [because…] will be, and because lies and violence will (fill) his existence, and the people will go astray in his day and will be perplexed.”

    I believe that honest persons familiar with the subject should have brought this to the attention of the world seeing how many persons would seriously care to have this information as it could set them on a new road of understanding in regard to their position in life with respect to their spiritual perspective.

    As Yehovah lives so should we
    Alberto Trevino

  • TRS

    Conjecture…but who knows?

  • Wardell Lindsay

    Jesus is in the Dead Sea Scrolls as the Teacher of Righteousness. jesus was born in 100 BCE, went to Alexandria 88 BCE, returned in 76 BCE as the Teacher of Righteousness and was killed in 67 BCE by Hyrcanus II.

    Read Jewish texts.
    Jesus aka Teacher of Righteousness aka Jesus ha Notzri = Jesus ben Pandera.

    http://jewishchristianlit.com/Topics/JewishJesus/san107b.html

    see my book,Amazon kindle ,
    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Life-Times-Wardell-Lindsay-ebook/dp/B004OEKFQC/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1458934278&sr=1-9&refinements=p_27%3AWardell+Lindsay

    The Dead Sea Scrolls is the start of Christianity with Jesus aka Teacher of Righteousness!

  • Wardell Lindsay

    Jesus Family Tomb is likely to be in 1st Century BCE not CE.
    Jesus lived in 1st Century BCE in the time of Alexander Jonothan and Queen Salome.
    Simcha should check Tomb date if possible, there is a 100 year different.

  • Funny you should be worrying over this now, when you’ve been ‘bashing’ and ‘ridiculing me’ for putting forward exactly the same sorts of positions and saying many of these same things for the last 25 years or so. Thanks a lot Man!

    • Wardell Lindsay

      Eisenman,
      Jesus lived under King Jannai and Queen Salome, in Maccabean Times
      .
      Jesus = Teacher of Righteousness
      http://jewishchristianlit.com/Topics/JewishJesus/san107b.html
      Wicked Priest = Hycanus II,
      Man of the Lie = Simeon Shetach

      Christianity started in the first century BC. was well established by the time of Paul. Paul promoted Gentiles into the Essenes, (Ebionims ahd Hasidim).

    • Albert Trevino

      Professor Eisenman

      I am not completely familiar with -the same sorts of positions and many sayings of your’s for the last 25 years or so- in regards to the subjects at hand.

      Would you be so kind as to elaborate on some of the issues which you have come to discover and have become a thorn for the Orthodox view point?

      Furthermore, I have had my attention drawn to the “Codex Bezae” are you familiar with the texts of the manuscript & are you able to comment with regard to any views you may have with regard?

      Here is my understanding of what could help shed light on the subject of the “Dove” & When exactly did Yeshua become the son of the Adonai of Israel and A renewed Israelite. Was it not at the dipping of Yeshua by John the Dipper? The question begs to be asked, does it not?

      1st.

      The statements in Matthew 3:16-17 / Luke 3:22 / Mark 1:11 are all combining 2 versus found in the Old testament. They are the following:

      Psalms 2:7 YTL:”I declare concerning a statute: Jehovah said unto me, ‘My Son Thou art, I to-day have brought thee forth.”

      Isaiah 42:1 YTL:”Lo, My servant, I take hold on him, My chosen one — My soul hath accepted, I have put My Spirit upon him, Judgment to nations he bringeth forth.”

      2nd.

      Adding further support to the view of a “Adoption” by the Creator of a mortal man as His son at a certain point in time during King Solomon’s life & once again at a certain point in time during Yeshua’s life. They are the following:

      2 SAMUEL 7:14 YTL:”I am to him for a father, and he is to Me for a son; whom in his dealings perversely I have even reproved with a rod of men, and with strokes of the sons of Adam,”

      1 Chronicles 17:13 YTL:”I am to him for a father, and he is to Me for a son, and My kindness I turn not aside from him as I turned it aside from him who was before thee”

      3rd.

      Hebrews 1:5 & 5:5 along with Acts 13:33 preserve the Operative Words “This Day”

      Which we can now correctly infer that in the Greek Gospels of Matthew, Luke, & Mark the words “This Day” have been Omitted through out the course of the last 1,500 years by those in control of the translations and explain it with a Greek abstract term of “Harmonization”

      Furthermore, we can conclude that they have added Isaiah 42:1

      4th.

      According to Luke 3:22, as preserved in Codex Bezae, the voice from heaven proclaimed at Yeshua’s baptism: Υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε· “Thou art my son; THIS DAY have I begotten thee”,

      A direct quote from Psalms 2:7 ONLY and does not include Isaiah 42:1

      Please review the following links to

      The “Codex Bezae, folio 195v.”

      http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-NN-00002-00041/371

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Bezae

      In conclusion I do not make these statements to discourage any one from fearing & serving Yehovah the Adonai of Israel.

      As Yehovah lives so should we
      Alberto Trevino

    • Vaughn

      Exactly! Mr Eisenman (I assume that is actually you), when I read Simcha’s article, I thought, ‘where is the shout out to Eisenman?’ I am not an academic, and do not want to know about the infighting of that world (or the crazy trolls you have to deal with (Jesus was 100 BCE??)). I would like to say that I am incredibly thankful for your work, as well as the work of Simcha and Tabor. I have focused on you three. Simcha and Tabor’s books are so fun, and forward these ideas in such an easy way, I’ve read some of them twice and give them out as gifts all the time. Mr. Eisenman – you’ve heard this before, I’m sure; you have obviously spent so much work on these issues – and are so intuitive – I just cannot thank you enough. I sincerely believe that your contributions to the field will be recognized for centuries and centuries to come. But, I don’t care who started what line of thought – this is important stuff that changes lives and nations. More work product!!!! From all of you!!!

  • Wardell Lindsay

    The Dead Sea Scroll community was interested in the end of times because Jesus had lived in Alexandria and knew of the Denderah Temple which had a zodiac that showed that the New Age of Pisces was coming in 60 BCE. Jesus brought knowledge to the group. Jesus was 24 years old when he returned from Alexandria. The Essenes also used the Alexandria Solar Calendar brought back by Jesus. This is the same calendar used by the Damasus Document from the Essenes.

  • suz

    goosebumps.

  • Wardell Lindsay

    Simcha, the Bible says Jesus was in 1st Century AD, but Jesus lived in 1st Century BC. Jesus has at least two names, the Friend Names, Teacher of Righteousness aka Dove aka the Messiah; and Foe names Jesus the Nazarene(cult or sect) aka the agitator aka Jesus ben Panthera. The Essenes are the Friends, the Pharisees the Foes.

    The Teacher of Righteousness aka Jesus leadership and movement was widespread over the Greek Empire. The Pharisees were limited.The Essenes in Egypt were called Therapeutas..Paul picked up the leadership of a an already extensive organization, that swamped the Jerusalem and Israel component. the Essenes grew under Herod, e.g. Essene Gate. The Essenes became the Christians, under Paul.

  • labarum

    Hate being the naysayer here but Jesus is not referred to as “the dove” in the verses indicated. It states the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus like a dove but never refers to him as the dove. Even if the reference to a crucifixion holds up, there were a lot of Jews who were crucified by the Romans for being trouble makers.

  • Daniel M. Wright
  • Deane

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