Letter: Dogma of the Dead Sea Scrolls

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The Independent Online
Sir: The provocative headline, 'Scroll fragment challenges basic tenet of Christianity' and the opening lines of Oliver Gillie's article (1 September), do not correspond to the substance of his interesting report on the so-called 'Son of God' text from Qumran. Needless to say, my forthcoming article on which it is based is definitely non-polemical.

This being stated, I would like to add that the fragment (4Q246) is not without significance for the broader interpretation of two famous phrases applied to Jesus in the Gospels - 'Son of God', here used pejoratively, and 'Son of Man'. The latter, often derived by New Testament scholars from Daniel 7:13 ('one like a son of man'), appears to be identified in the Scroll, as in the Book of Daniel itself, not with an individual Messiah, but with the collective protagonists of the Dead Sea story, the 'people of God'.

Yours sincerely,

GEZA VERMES

Director

Forum for Qumran Research

Oxford

1 September

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