Friday, August 13, 2010

Michael Wise Interview - Minnesota DSS Exhibit

Michael Wise
Michael Wise, master of ancient languages and my first Hebrew and Latin teacher, was interviewed by The Catholic Spirit about the Minnesota Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit (reviewed here). If you haven't yet had a chance to see the exhibit, I highly recommend it, and this interview is a good introduction on what you can expect to get out of it. Here are a few quotes:

What would you recommend that visitors take more time viewing?

There’s a portion of the exhibit given over to explaining how scribal processes work. I think it’s important for people to spend more time looking at that.
We just don’t understand how differently book culture worked in the ancient world compared to how it works today.    . . . We don’t understand how texts got made and how they got passed on. It’s well explained in the exhibit. . . .


What do you think the scrolls prove about Christianity?
My own view of Christianity is that it can’t be proven or disproved by archaeology. Every artifact we uncover . . . always requires interpretation. It’s at the sifting level that people of faith or people who want to argue against faith can always find some kind of grist for their mill. . . . The texts can’t prove Chris tia nity. Can they prove that the things we’re told about Christianity and Judaism in the Bible really were being said 2,000 years ago? Yes, they can prove that. . . .
Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we couldn’t prove, in a scientific sense of having tangible evidence, that the Bible was any older than about 1,000 or 1,200 AD. . . . Today, we can say these texts show us that the Bible is as old as the time of Jesus and more . . . there is evidence, scientifically.

Photo via The Catholic Spirit

HT: Jim Davila

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