We’ve seen before how entertaining (and irritating) it can be when journalists venture to comment on archaeology. This article is no exception. Here are the first two paragraphs — see if you can spot the oafish (likely not intentional) double entendre (calling Jay Leno!):
Jesus Christ did not live with the ancient people from the settlement near caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, even though some scholars have argued the contrary, an archaeologist said Thursday in a presentation sponsored by the Brite Divinity School.
Jodi Magness, an endowed archaeology professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focused on the Essenes, an apocalyptic group that lived in Qumran, near the 11 caves in which more than 900 scrolls were discovered. She said that one-fourth of the scrolls represent all but one of the books of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, all of which have at least one copy.
First, I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard anyone (not even Dan Brown!) suggest that Jesus lived at Qumran. The C-14 dating of the scrolls and the resulting chronology is about 150 years off for that — something our journalist could have learned via Wikipedia.
Second, I wonder if Jodi Magness is really endowed — I’ve never met her, so I can’t comment.
I thought the same two things…
While the dating of most of the scrolls may not match the time of Jesus, it is likely that the Qumran community existed during his life time, making it possible for him to have at least visited. I haven’t seen it for about a year, but, if my memory serves me correctly, the “introductory video” at the actual site of Qumran makes reference to the possibility of John the Baptist having stayed there. After all, Qumran is fairly close to the area where John baptized along the Jordan, and their apparently monastic lifestyle fits what we know of him and his lifestyle. I am not sure if that same movie also suggests that Jesus may have been there, but I have heard that suggestion a few times here in Israel. People seem to like to try to connect some of his actions and teachings with what was found at Qumran. If nothing else, it helps increase the amount of tourists who visit.
Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog – though I disagree a bit here, it often makes me laugh and wonder at the craziness of people.