English Text Reconstructions

William P. Griffin, Ph.D.

Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri


Produced by William P. Griffin

Hebrew and English text reconstructions Copyright 1992, 1993, 1994 William P. Griffin

English Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Many ask the question, "How well has the Bible been passed down to us?" The question has been an easy one to answer for the New Testament, for there are an abundance of ancient manuscripts available. However, for the Old Testament, few ancient witnesses were available until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, beginning in 1947. Nevertheless, the stranglehold on the texts by a few scholars kept most of the knowledge away from the public eye. But with the release of the Huntington microfilm in 1991, the Biblical Archaeological Society's Facsimile edition shortly thereafter, and other publications, these documents had the potential to make it into the public arena.

Translations of non-biblical Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) materials are easy to find, but translations or comparisons of Biblical DSS materials to the Bible as we know it are scarce.

The following set of translations is a semi-random sampling of Biblical DSS materials. Each translation compares the DSS to the Masoretic Text (MT), a 1,000 year old Hebrew text from which most Old Testaments are translated. The original comparisons were done in Hebrew and Aramaic, checking each letter. Since there are many spelling differences (scribal updates) between the Hebrew texts which have no effect on translation, only differences in meaning are noted in the English translation.

The English translation is a modification of the New American Standard Bible (NASB) text. This translation proved to be a useful starting point, for it is extremely literal and tends to accurately reflect the MT. From here I modified the English to reflect similarities and differences between the MT and the DSS.

In most cases, no evaluative comment is made when differences are encountered; which text is better is left up to the reader to determine.

But the following should be noted: By and large, the texts are essentially the same; one would find many more differences by comparing the NIV and the NKJV than they would find between the MT and the DSS. Most differences between the texts are insignificant ones which have little effect on meaning and almost no possible effect on doctrine.

I will also post the Hebrew reconstructions (of which there are more), once I figure out how to do so. (They are in a Nota Bene 3.0 SLS format; probably I will just do them as graphics.)


The titles to the reconstructions contain the Bible passage, the PAM number(s) [in square brackets], BAS Facsimile edition numbers {in these brackets}, the technical designation (when available; e.g. 1QIsa_a, and in some instances a descriptive title. For example:

DEUTERONOMY 5; 8:5-10 [42.642-2 {941}]

Including The Ten Commandments

After the title, the particular fragments/columns in the reconstruction are identified in a similar manner (comments usually indicate if text margins are present). This is followed by the reconstruction. For example:

Key to the English Text Reconstructions

Each of the following texts has the following key at the bottom.

SIMILARITIES: Regular = MT yes, DSS yes; Italics = MT yes, DSS probable; Small Type = MT yes, DSS hole

DIFFERENCES: Italics/Bold (Blue) = MT yes, DSS no; Underline/Bold (Red) = DSS yes, MT no; Underline (Purple) = DSS probable, MT no

OTHER: .... = blank space, apparently with no writing; $ = present in NASB, but missing in MT; % = correction of NASB to make it reflect MT; Phrase in {brackets} = explanation.

ABBREVIATIONS: MT = Masoretic Text (1,000 years old); DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls (2,000 years old); NASB = New American Standard Bible, a literal English Bible translation

English Text Reconstructions:

Comparisons of the MT to the DSS

GENESIS 1:1-23 [42.153, 42.723 {660, 972}]

GENESIS 1:18-27 [41.158 {166}, 42.155 {662} Top Right Fragment, 42.725 {974} Top Fragment]

GENESIS 48:1-11 [42.727 {976}]

EXODUS 1-7 [42.158 and 41.203] {not corrected to BAS photos}

LEVITICUS Paleohebrew Fragments [42.171, 42.172, 42.173, 42.174, 42.175 {678, 679, 680, 681, 682}] 11QpaleoLev

DEUTERONOMY 1 with NUMBERS 36 [41.144 {152}]

DEUTERONOMY 5, 8:5-10 [42.642-2 {941}] Including The Ten Commandments

DEUTERONOMY 23:26{25}-24:8 [41.143, 43.070, 43.102 {151, 1154, 1186}]


JOSHUA [41.302 {243}]

RUTH 1 [43.090, 42.287, 41.299 {1174, 766, 240}]

1 SAMUEL 20:26-21:6 {Heb 21:7}[42.599]

1 KINGS 7-8 Fragments [41.161, 42.279, 42.931 {169, 758, 1163}]

SECOND CHRONICLES 29:1-3 [43.089 {1173}]

PSALMS 49-53 [43.156 and 42.718, Center Fragment]

JOB 32, 34, 36, 37 (Elihu Speeches) [41.294 {235}]

ISAIAH 9,10,11,14,22-24 [41.675, 43.020 {383, 1104}]

ISA 53:8-54:1 [43.018 {1102} TOP CENTER, LEFT COLUMN]

JEREMIAH 48:26-34 [40.641] {From microfilm only; not in BAS photos}

LAMENTATIONS 1:1-18; 2:5; 4:14 [41.292, 42.289, 43.161 {233,768,1216}]

EZEKIEL FRAGMENTS [40.583, 41.290, 43.082 {46, 231, 1166}]

DANIEL (Hebrew and Aramaic, Many Fragments) [43.083, 41.204, 41.205, 41.207, 41.781, 41.782, 43.437] {210, 211, 212, 443, 444, 1167, 1410}

DANIEL 10:5-16 [42.184 {686, 1165}]

DANIEL 10-11 [42.184, 43.086 {686, 1165}]

4QXIIb: ZEPHANIAH, HAGGAI [41.142, 43.087 {150, 1171}]