Simcha Jacobovici finding references to Jesus in Dead Sea Scrolls

John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel on the world’s first streaming service devoted exclusively to documentaries, CuriosityStream, presented in March Simcha Jacobovici his investigation into The Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ad for DSS in WSJ

Ad for DSS in WSJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls 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, 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.

Canadian-Israeli filmmaker and journalist Simcha Jacobovici went looking closer at fragment 24, column 2, of the Dead Sea scroll which 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 him that “4Q541” may be referring to Jesus.

He 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, he could clearly see part of the “Taf” in Talia/crucifixion he recounts in his blog.

The word “Tsatsa” was also very clear for him. In the Times of Israel he writes

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.{Jesus discovered in Dead Sea Scrolls}

In four lines, the Dead Sea Scrolls fragment makes use of four words associated with Jesus and his crucifixion: “dove”, “cross”, “nail” and “mourning”. It refers to someone codenamed “Yonah”. In Hebrew and Aramaic, “Yonah” means “dove”, a term associated with Jesus. It’s also the name of the only prophet that Jesus compares himself with i.e., the prophet “Jonah” (Matthew 12:41). In the Dead Sea Scrolls, this dove/Jonah seems to have suffered crucifixion and the writer of the fragment is asking the dove’s disciples not to focus on the “nail” of the crucifixion, and not to “mourn”, but to do that which the dove/Jonah has asked of his followers. I think it’s pretty clear that here we have a reference to Jesus in a previously unknown text, that dates back to the time of Jesus. {Jesus and Paul in the Dead Sea Scrolls!}

In the Gospels, Jesus acknowledges that there are those among his enemies who would accuse him of a capital crime. Recently, Jacobovici‘s friend Ross Nichols pointed out to him the connection between the “glutton and drunkard” line in the Gospels and the passage in Deuteronomy that uses the same terms.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writer of “11QT54” also makes these connections. He quotes the passage in Deuteronomy which refers to a “glutton and a drunkard” and then suddenly changes the Biblical text. He introduces new lines that are not present in the Book of Deuteronomy. He then switches back to the Biblical text. In the inserted lines, he alludes to “a man” who “passes on information against his people or betrays his people to a foreign nation”, and is deserving of crucifixion. Who is this man and what foreign nation is the writer of the Dead Sea Scrolls fragment talking about?

Read more about it in:

Simcha Jacobovici (right) in the Dead Sea Scrolls vault, Jerusalem

Simcha Jacobovici (right) in the Dead Sea Scrolls vault, Jerusalem

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Preceding article: Fragment of Nehemiah in Dead Sea Scrolls

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Further reading

  1. Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt against Rome, 66-73 CE; Neil Faulkner…
  2. The Revolt of the Maccabees
  3. Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology
  4. Jewish Historian Learned How to Survive the Roman Empire
  5. Josephus: The Jewish War

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2 thoughts on “Simcha Jacobovici finding references to Jesus in Dead Sea Scrolls

  1. Pingback: Simcha Jacobovicis kijk op de duif en nagels in de dode Zee rollen | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  2. Pingback: The Great revolt and Many stories concealed | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

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