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I often find people comparing other manuscripts (e.g., Masoretic text, LXX) against the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to determine their accuracy. For example, this thread asked how reliable the LXX was in comparison to the Masoretic text in light of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This seems to imply that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the exemplar par excellence by which other manuscripts are measured for accuracy.

So, I ask, how can the accuracy of the Dead Sea Scrolls be assessed, and if indeed this is possible, how accurate are those manuscripts in the Dead Sea Scrolls of books found in the Bible (e.g., 1QIsa1 of the Book of Isaiah)?

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The Dead Sea Scrolls are the only ancient Hebrew Bible manuscripts that we have. Everything else in Hebrew is from the 11th century or later. Thus it's natural that the Dead Sea Scrolls loom large in studying the textual history of the Hebrew Bible. However, the Dead Sea Scroll texts don't always agree with each other, and their age is no guarantee of accuracy. By comparing different textual traditions (LXX, but also translations into other languages, the Samaritan Torah, etc.) it is sometimes possible to trace back the history of the text past the era of the Dead Sea scrolls and to identify errors in the Dead Sea scrolls.

Basically, the Dead Sea scrolls are uniquely valuable information to textual critics, but nonetheless other texts also give important information which much be synthesized using the usual tools of textual criticism.

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How accurate is the DSS? Really, how accurate is any Hebrew texts; even the one used now (the MT)? Academia tells us the Hebrew texts used to translate the Greek version was one containing variant readings and that's why the Septugaint contains different readings to that of the MT in many places. That being "the scholarly" view of the cebebral Germanic minded scholars, doesn't it mean that the Hebrew texts used to compile "the heavily sedated glossary texts" of the pretigious MT came from other sources of Hebrew texts from which the Septuagint did not come. And you asked others, How accurate is the DSS? The fact is, any answer is just a projection of ones own opinion, all hypothesises (guesses). The idea of looking at and comparing all theses different Hebrew texts to"figure out" which is "accurate" is like pouring water in a container which has holes. Can one catch water in such a container? We are told by the cerebrals that the DSS have readings to match the MT and also the Greek translation, the Septuagint, which came from. Hebrew manuscripts. And , at the same time, there are readings which are so different that they cannot be harmonized unless one concludes; there were variant Hebrew texts with different readings.What shiuld really strike one as amazing is just this: Those "scribes" who went to Egypt to translate "the ACCEPTED Hebrew texts" in the 3rd century, how come about 700/900 years later "this Hebrew texts" became "a variant texts" ? Was it a variant texts in the 3rd century? And, if so, TO WHAT was it a variant? Surely, the word "variant" would suggest "a comparison between". Moreover, those scribes who translated the Hebrew texts into Greek, did they all go to Egypt on their own accord, or were they SENT THERE BY "the Sanhedrin" to do the translation? In that case, the Hebrew texts GIVEN TO THEM to translate was GIVEN BY the Sanhedrin. Clearly, THAT Hebrew texts called "a variant" FROM which the Greek translation came is not such at all; ONLY THOSES COMING AFTER are the "variants"; the DSS and the MT. Wonder if that's what Jeremyah spoke of when he said, "...Indeed, THEY MADE the QUILL (pen) for FALSEHOOD, the SCRIBES are FALSE". (Tanak Vol. 11: The Prophets. ArtScroll Series) . Moreover, with all the "voices" rattling the ears one is left to wonder WHAT TEXTS ARE REFERRED TO IN the words, "And BEGINNING at MOSES and ALL the PROPHETS,..." "and IN the PSALMS...". Can't be the DSS Hebrew texts for that spoke of TWO Messiahs and a high priest FROM Levi. Neither FROM the MT Hebrew texts for that DIDN'T EVEN EXIST at thay time. I think we all need to consider the possibility of "an Ezra Hebrew texts" which, most likely, was the text FROM which the Greek translation was made. Stephen Attai

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Welcome to BHSE! We're a little different here, please read our Site Directives as you ask and answer questions. Thank you! – Tau Mar 21 '15 at 2:32
I took the rare liberty in DVing your answer: you appear to have some extensive knowledge about the subject, but your response(with 1 exception) is projecting "PURE OPINION"(how does it look when you shout?) If you removed all of the conjecture, cut out the capitalizations, and organized your response in a way that your readership would draw insight and not offense, I would be willing to remove my DV-perhaps change it to +1. Thank you! – Tau Mar 21 '15 at 2:41
Hi, thanks for responding. Didn't mean by "caps" shouting, but emphasis. Anyhow, feel free to edit what I sent but keep the underlying ideas intact. Thank you. – Stephen Attai Mar 22 '15 at 17:37
It would be a major revision to remove the tone of your remarks and add references to your responses. If you value your response, please take the time and effort to correct it and make it 'palatable' to a larger audience. I have had to do the same thing myself, coming from the 'blogosphere'. We value good responses here, and occasionaly make references to them. Make the effort, and your audience will express it's approval. Thank you! – Tau Mar 23 '15 at 1:57

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