Ancient or Modern? : an Analysis of Layout and Variant Readings in Unprovenanced Post-2002 “Dead Sea Scrolls” Fragments
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Scholars have raised concern regarding the authenticity of several unprovenanced post-2002 “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments. In addition to addressing suspicious physical and scribal features, a theory of textual correspondence between the fragments and modern editions of the Hebrew Bible has been proposed. This theory is twofold: It argues 1) that there is a correspondence in line to line layout, and 2) that readings suggested in the critical apparatus by the editors of the modern editions seem to have been imported to the fragments. This thesis intends to aid scholars in determining the fragmentsʼ authenticity by testing the theory of textual correspondence through a systematic analysis of several unprovenanced fragments. Twenty-seven fragments from the Schøyen Collection and the Museum of the Bible Collection have been selected for this analysis. Ten of them are already referred to as modern forgeries in relevant literature, six of which confirm the theory of textual correspondence. It therefore seems probable that textual correspondence is in some cases a characteristic of modern forgery. As seven of the remaining seventeen fragments also show textual correspondence to modern editions of the Hebrew Bible, there is good reason to question the authenticity of these fragments as well. This thesis therefore argues that further research must be done in order to determine the authenticity of all published unprovenanced “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments.