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The discovery of 2000 year old Leviticus fragment

What were the original languages the Bible was written in? How did we get the Bible? Is the Bible corrupted by men when they were translated?

Good questions!

The Bible was written in two main languages, Hebrew in the Old Testament, and Greek for the New Testament. Two other languages appear briefly. One of them is Aramaic. A few chapters in Ezra and Daniel were originally in Aramaic and one verse in Jeremiah, also.

There are a few words in another, fourth language that appears extremely briefly for a few words in Job, and that’s Ugaritic. The Ugaritic does’t impact the original Bible’s reading and interpreting so much as it does in helping to understand the Hebrew overall.

Two thousand tablets written in Ugaritic were discovered in 1929. The Kingdom of Ugarit was located in Syria, and was a thriving kingdom of the late Bronze Age (1570 – 1200 BC.) It co-existed with the Hebrew tribes and,

The Ugaritic texts offer innumerable literary and religious parallels to biblical literature. The parallels are so rich and in some cases so specific that it is evident that the Ugaritic texts do not merely provide parallels, but belong to a shared or overlapping cultural matrix with the Hebrew Bible. (Source)

The Ugaritic language was almost letter for letter identical to Hebrew, and where the Hebrew word was unknown or difficult to interpret in context, the Ugaritic texts helped as a kind of Rosetta Stone in interpreting the Hebrew biblical word properly.

Do the ancient age and human handling mean that when the Bible was translated into English (or other languages) that the text tended to be corrupted? Not at all.

Here, GotQuestions answers “How does the translation process impact the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible?

The Old Testament Hebrew scriptures were painstakingly copied by Jewish scribes. Groups such as the Sopherim, the Zugoth, the Tannaim, and the Masoretes had a deep reverence for the texts they were copying. Their reverence was coupled with strict rules governing their work: the type of parchment used, the size of the columns, the kind of ink, and the spacing of words were all prescribed. Writing anything from memory was expressly forbidden, and the lines, words, and even the individual letters were methodically counted as a means of double-checking accuracy. The result of all this was that the words written by Isaiah’s pen are still available today. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls clearly confirms the precision of the Hebrew text.

In addition, we see the discovery of ancient biblical fragment from 50 years ago along with the recent development of technology to help in reading the furled fragment, confirms the accuracy of the original texts. Or perhaps the other way around. This is exciting news!


Modern Technology Unlocks Secrets of a Damaged Biblical Scroll

Nearly half a century ago, archaeologists found a charred ancient scroll in the ark of a synagogue on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The lump of carbonized parchment could not be opened or read. Its curators did nothing but conserve it, hoping that new technology might one day emerge to make the scroll legible. Just such a technology has now been perfected by computer scientists at the University of Kentucky. Working with biblical scholars in Jerusalem, they have used a computer to unfurl a digital image of the scroll.

Incredibly neat! What does the text say?

It turns out to hold a fragment identical to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible and, at nearly 2,000 years old, is the earliest instance of the text. … The scroll’s content, the first two chapters of the Book of Leviticus, has consonants — early Hebrew texts didn’t specify vowels — that are identical to those of the Masoretic text, the authoritative version of the Hebrew Bible and the one often used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles.

So the authoritative 1000 year old Masoretic text is identical to this 2000 year old text found and examined by computer? Those tenth century monks who precisely copied and instituted rules for further copying so as to ensure perfection of the texts is proved 100% reliable by computer forensics in this millennial age? Even more neat!

“We have never found something as striking as this,” Dr. Tov said. “This is the earliest evidence of the exact form of the medieval text,” he said, referring to the Masoretic text.

It is striking, that a 2000 year old text from Leviticus is exact as to the Masoretic texts copied in 1000 AD? So thrilling.

Granted, today everyone and his brother is translating the Bible. Not ALL modern translations post-1881 can be trusted. The Message and The Living Bible are paraphrase Bibles and can’t be trusted as a primary study Bible. So, hasn’t the Bible been re-written so many times that we can’t trust it?

No, this is a common misconception. When we translate the Bible, we do not translate from a translation of a translation of a translation. We translate from the original language into our language.  It is a one-step process and not a series of steps that can lead to corruption.

Whole University Departments base their classes on Plato and there are only 7 existing copies of his original work, which were completed 750 years after the events! Compare that to the Bible, of which there are 5,600 copies with 99.5% accuracy, completed mere decades after the events!

The Bible can be trusted in its major translations (KJV, NAS, ESV, NKJV, and NIV if you must). It is a gift from God, revealing Himself to us in inspired, inerrant, preserved fashion. The texts from Leviticus shows us that. Praise Him who meets with us in His word. Have you read your Bible today?


Further Reading

Is the Old Testament reliable? Aren’t those weird stories just that, stories only children can believe? Despite what SOME megachurch pastors like to say, all scripture is reliable and inerrant. No one on earth ever had a higher view of scripture, including the Old Testament, than Jesus. All believers should likewise have a high view of scripture in its inspired inerrancy. Listen to our pastor Mark McAndrew show just how valuable every jot and tittle of the OT and NT are. A powerful sermon.

In What Language was the Bible First Written?

What’s Ugaritic Got to Do with Anything?

And look how the Lord caused the invention of the printing press, which further dispersed His word to all the world! Very interesting clip of the ancient way to make a book. I can’t help but see the Gutenberg press as a wonderful invention the Lord inspired to cause dispersion of His word to the laypeople across the globe.

Birth of a Book” is a beautiful short film that follows the process of a book’s creation at Smith Settle, a traditional printing and bookbinding company in the UK. The film was created by Glen Milner for The Telegraph.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.