John J. Collins in the Huff Post: Dead Sea Scrolls are Great for Knowledge about Ancient Judaism, Even Better for Fueling Conspiracy Theories

John J. Collins writes a few thoughts about what we have learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls. He makes some points about how they have increased our knowledge of ancient Judaism, such as this one:

The Scrolls provide ample evidence that the kind of apocalyptic and eschatological speculations found in apocalyptic literature, and cherished by early Christians, were at home in Judaism around the turn of the era
– John J. Collins, “Dead Sea Scrolls: What Have We Learned?”, Huff Post Religion, 22 October 2012

And he laments how they have fueled speculations and conspiracy theories about Christian origins – a subject for which the pre-Christian Dead Sea Scrolls offer only secondary evidence:

The area of scholarship that has suffered most from wild speculation is the relevance of the Scrolls for Christian origins. Within a few years of the discovery, claims were made that a figure called the Teacher of Righteousness in the Scrolls was crucified and believed to have risen from the dead. These claims were swiftly discredited, but revived in the 1990s by the British authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, in “The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception,” who claimed that the truth had been suppressed by a Vatican conspiracy. These claims have no basis.
– John J. Collins, “Dead Sea Scrolls: What Have We Learned?”, Huff Post Religion, 22 October 2012

Vatican conspiracies and rival messiahs, John. That’s sooooo 1990s. We’ve moved on to far more adventurous conspiracy theories, as one of your commenters demonstrates:

Thanks to the dead sea scrolls we know a lot more about those giant Nephilim dudes mentioned in Gen 6:4 and their giant daddy’s “the sons of god”. who happened to be mentioned as giant white 6 fingered, 6 toed people in the Mayan, Hopi, Chinese, Babylonian , Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Caanaite, Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, in can traditions and many,many more. The name Goliath Ring a bell? Time to wake up and smell the aliens you religious people. God exists, just not the one(s) mentioned in the bible or any religious text for that matter.
– Kragen Millsap, commenter to John J. Collins, “Dead Sea Scrolls: What Have We Learned?”, Huff Post Religion, 22 October 2012

Time to wake up and smell the aliens.

"Thanks to the dead sea scrolls we know a lot more about those giant Nephilim dudes mentioned in Gen 6:4 and their giant daddy's "the sons of god". who happened to be mentioned as giant white 6 fingered, 6 toed people in the Mayan, Hopi, Chinese, Babylonian , Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Caanaite, Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, in can traditions and many,many more"
“Thanks to the dead sea scrolls we know a lot more about those giant Nephilim dudes mentioned in Gen 6:4 and their giant daddy’s “the sons of god”. who happened to be mentioned as giant white 6 fingered, 6 toed people in the Mayan, Hopi, Chinese, Babylonian , Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Caanaite, Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, in can traditions and many,many more” – Kragen Millsap
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