Peter Flint – Dead Sea Scrolls & Da Vinci Code

Again tonight, I try to bring for you in a somewhat summarized, limited, and fallible form the concluding lecture by Peter Flint at Trinity United Methodist Church here in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Nick Gailey introduced everything by saying, “We can sit about 300 in here, and it is full.  The Ink & Blood exhibit is going very well.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see such world treasures.  Tonight, Dr. Flint has a very interesting topic to share with you.  Last night, he gave some very powerful, powerful information. He is dynamite.  [And after sharing much of Peter’s resume, Nick shares] He is a great person and a great scholar.  It is our pleasure to have Dr. Flint with us tonight.”

Peter begins, “Good evening to all my friends in Idaho Falls.  I am sure we have over 300 tonight.  We save the best for the last.  Who is new tonight?  You are going to have a powerful, wonderful evening.”

I am going to give a little introduction but first a football analogy – Are you ready for the sea scrolls? (laughter)

Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the DaVinci Code 

The Dead Sea Scrolls – they are an appetite, a feeling, and my love.

You may be Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or Mormon, but we are all interested in the Holy Land and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Through power point, Peter shared the statistics of “Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions” in Grand Rapids, Montreal, Ottawa, Houston, Mobile, Charlotte, Seattle, Kansas City (2007), etc.  In each place, a museum record has been set.

Part One:  Introducing the Dead Sea Scrolls 

Peter repeated many of the slides of the previous night, but nonetheless filled me with excitement all over again concerning this greatest of discoveries.

He shared how on Nov. 29, 1947 Prof. Sukenik traveled to Bethlehem and secured three scrolls for the Hebrew University.  It was a famous day in history.

Peter mentioned how a New Museum was then built to house all 7 scrolls from Cave 1—The Shrine of the Book.

But most of the scrolls were not found in cave 1 but cave 4.  This was the mother lode, the treasure trove.  Cave 4 scrolls are in the Rockefeller Museum.

Part Two:  A Scholar Considers the DaVinci Code 

“The book by Dan Brown is a fast-paced retelling of a story that has been around for a long time.  It is a well written and exciting story.”

And then Peter gave briefly the whole story plot.

He showed a picture of the famous glass and steel pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre and how Dan B. claimed it had 666 glass planes.  Peter said an acquaintance went there and counted them all, totaling 687. [My wife and I were there five years ago, but at the time it was no big deal.  Back then the glass panes were not world famous.]

Jesus in the DaVinci Code

Dan Brown claims that in his book, “All information on art, architecture, and Jesus is historically accurate.”

Dan Brown says,

1)      Jesus was a great man but not the Son of God.  The church invented this.

2)      The idea of Messiah was invented by the Church.

3)      Constantine invented the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

4)      The virgin birth is a lie and myth.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

The Lost Tomb of Jesus is in the same genre.

It is claimed that Jesus had a special relationship.  In the painting of The Last Supper, it is not John but Mary Magdalene.  Mary is the lover.  Jesus and Mary had children together.  The Holy Grail is the womb of Mary.  The descendants of the physical relationship have survived to this day.

The Da Vinci Code Opposes the Christian Faith by contradicting basic Christian beliefs 

According to traditional Christian belief, Jesus is the Son of God, died on the cross, and rose again.  Dan Brown says these are all lies.  I am not a Catholic, but I see that Dan Brown hates the Catholic Church.

Ancient evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

1)  Dan B. mentioned the scrolls were found in the 1950s in a cave.  But the Scrolls were found in late 1946 or in early 1947.  Eleven Caves at Qumran contained scrolls.

2)  Dan B. says the scrolls speak of Christ’s ministry.  But the Scrolls never mention Jesus directly.  They were written between 250 B.C. and A.D. 68. 

3)  Dan B. teaches that sacred prostitution was involved in the worship of Yahweh.  This is an outrageous claim.  There is no evidence of sacred prostitutes as part of early Jewish worship of Yahweh 

4) Dan B. declares the sacred Tetragrammaton is an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah.  This is sheer fantasy according to Biblical scholars.  It is an outrageous, stupid statement. In fact, the name Yahweh probably means, “the One who causes to be.”

5) Dan B. claims that Constantine tried to eradicate other gospels.  But Constantine never attempted to eradicate or suppress any Gospels or other Scriptures. 

At this point, Peter spoke briefly about the Nag Hammadi Codices, found in Egypt, dated 2nd to 4th cent. A.D.

The Vatican had nothing to do with the suppression of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The real reasons involved lack of funding and the editors’ protection of their scholarly turf.

Not one of our ancient sources states Jesus was married or had sexual relations.

Part Three:  Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls 

Do the Dead Sea Scrolls have any reference to a Divine “son of God”?

Peter compared Luke 1:32-35, and the phrases, “And will be called the Son of the Most High . . .  he will be called Son of God,” with the Son of God Text (4Q246) written before the gospels.  Here you find the phrases, “He will be called the Son of God . . .  they will call him the son of the Most High.”

In Jewish literature, 100 B.C., the idea is there, known by at least some Jews before the Common Era.

Did Jesus Claim to be the Messiah?  Scholars discuss “The Messianic Secret”.

Jesus never really says, “Hello, I am the Messiah.”

In Luke 4:16-21, the connection is not clear.  But notice the 4Q521 Messianic Apocalypse.  It contains some mighty elements like “the heavens and the earth will listen to His Messiah.”  This early form of Judaism is claiming a Messiah.

What about the Dead being raised?

Look at Luke 7:22-23.  Many would say the Messiah is not a Jewish idea or not early 1st century Judaism.  But we see, “He shall revive the dead” in 4Q521.  We now have a Jewish text that says the dead will be raised.  This authenticates the words of Jesus in the gospels, rather than support some who say this idea was added by later redactors.

We didn’t know much about the first century.  It was a shadow land.  But now the DDS have brought in a spotlight.

A New Reading in Isaiah 53

In the KJV Isaiah 53:11-12, do you see the grammatical problem with the word “of”?  You can’t just kick out the “of” because of its appearance in the MT.  But the Isaiah scroll has “light”.  Now out of the suffering, we see hope, the hope of the resurrection.

Did Qumran just insert this into the text because of their emphasis on “Sons of Light”?  No, it is confirmed in two other scrolls.

To Conclude:  We have introduced the Dead Sea Scrolls, considered the DaVinci Code, and have examined the relevance of the Scrolls for understanding Jesus. 

Questions raised by those in the audience after the lecture

Was John the Baptist an Essene?

He may have lived among them.  The voice from the wilderness.  At Qumran, they had this.  But if he did live among them, he must have broken away because his message entailed a “whosoever”.  It was not the exclusive message of the Essenes.

Someone commented about the texts like where Jesus was kissing Mary on the mouth. 

Peter shared how most scholars do not see things like this as literal but speaking of spiritual, anti-physical, divine lovers.  For those who do give merit to this kind of material, they do not consider the two having had a physical relationship. [My note – I consider these texts totally spurious and ridiculous in comparison to the biblical gospels.  Just read them for yourself.]

Did the Jews consider it blasphemy to use the title, Son of God, because of monotheistic belief?

In Rabbinic Judaism, this is not kosher, the idea of a Messianic Son of God.  But in Qumran, there was a unique Judaism, a different branch, a messianic Judaism.

Could you be a rabbi without being married?

We believe at Qumran, there were a group of Jewish men who were celibate.  In Judaism, the priests did not engage in marital sexual activity while on duty.  At Qumran, they were priests all the time, always on duty.  While serving on holy ground, this eliminated sex and marriage activity.  Sort of like Catholic priests today. Of course, there were other Essenes, who were married and living in town.

Peter mentioned three books, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, and The Bible at Qumran.

In an interesting comment about one of his books, Peter shared his interpretation of Paul writing in Galatians over how “We have the gospel of grace, but you have the works of the law.”  The idea is not that Paul is arguing with Judaizers in general but with a specific people at
Qumran who have become Christians.  He noted the “works of the law” reference in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

To conclude it all, Peter read a lost Psalm, The apostrophe to Judah.  [I think that was the title.  You will need to verify.]

2 comments

  1. Hey, that’s a pretty good summary of it Todd. NICE!

    Best,
    Kerry (who doesn’t have the photographic memory that Todd does, and is a lesser man for it – sigh…….)

  2. Peter Flint will be speaking in great detail on the Dead Sea Scrolls, April 4 & 5, 2008, at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, for the Biblical Archaeological Society — including his lecture Apr 5 on “The Qumran Key to Jesus’ Messianic Secret.” To register for and attend this BAS Seminar go to http://www.bib-arch.org/vegas2008
    Thank you for this summary.
    Bob

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