>Glenn Beck and the Dead Sea Scrolls

>Recently, Glenn Beck, the popular radio and television personality made a reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls on one of his radio programs. Listen to the section where Glenn Beck mentions the Dead Sea Scrolls. As you listen, pay close attention to what he says and try to find out how incorrect he is about the Dead Sea Scrolls. After you listen, I will comment on his misinterpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here is the transcript of what Glenn Beck said:

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/player.swf

Now, let me show you how wrong Glenn Beck is:

1. Glenn Beck associated the Dead Sea Scrolls with Constantine and the Council of Nicaea.

This is incorrect.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are copies of Biblical books and other Jewish extra-biblical documents which were written prior to the birth of Christ, beginning circa 150 B.C. It is possible that some of these manuscripts were also written prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. Thus, the two events are centuries apart and they are not related.

2. Glenn Beck said that the Council of Nicaea put together the Apostle’s Creed.

This is incorrect.

The Council of Nicaea met in what is Turkey today in 325 A.D. and it dealt primarily with Christological issues. The Council expressed its consensus by issuing the Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed “appears for the first time in a letter from a Council in Milan (probably written by Ambrose himself) to Pope Siricius in about 390.” Thus, there is no relation between the Council of Nicaea, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

3. Glenn Beck said that the Dead Sea Scrolls were put into caves because people “were destroying all the truth.”

This is incorrect.

As Robert Cargill said in his blog (Robert Cargill has provided a full transcript of the video in his blog), it seems that Glenn Beck is confusing the Dead Sea Scrolls with the Nag Hammadi manuscripts that were discovered in Egypt in 1945. This collection of manuscripts is the remnant of the Gnostic scriptures. Gnosticism was a religious movement in the early history of the church that was declared to be a perversion of Christianity.

4. Glenn Beck said that at the Council of Nicaea, “the Bible was first bound and everything else.”

This is also incorrect.

Although the date for the final canonization of the 66 books of the Bible as we have them today is disputed, it was not until the end of the fourth century that a list of the 39 book of the Old Testament and a list of the 27 books of the New Testament were put together. It is possible that the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible made by Jerome in 400 A.D. produced the definite collection of books that form the Bible today.

So, what can I say about Glenn Beck’s view of the Dead Sea Scrolls? What can I say? Glenn Beck has presented an interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls that is completely devoid of any resemblance to truth.

When people who have little knowledge of historical events that predate Christianity and when their knowledge of church history is limited try to provide information to others without doing proper research, they will make foolish mistakes, mistakes that will misinform people and bring their presentation into ridicule. They will also convey wrong ideas that will be taken by many people to be the truth and nothing but the truth, when in reality what they are saying is nothing but falsehoods and misinformation.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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4 Responses to >Glenn Beck and the Dead Sea Scrolls

  1. Lydia says:

    >A very informative post, Dr. Mariottni. Your final paragraph is a truth for our Time.

    Like

  2. David says:

    >Actually, there are 72 books in the Bible, so you're not so correct yourself. There were 72 books from about the time of Nicaea. Beck may be wrong about a lot, but let he who is without sin cast the first stone…

    Like

  3. >David, with all due respect, the Apocrapha does not count. Near as anyone can tell they have always been disputed as authentic scripture. They are not even part of the Jewish cannon either. Beck should apologize on National Television

    Like

  4. Dan says:

    >What a mess he made of the history about the Dead Sea Scrolls. He made some good points in his larger discussion but really messed up on this point. Interesting how it it easy to dismiss most all of what one says if the facts are wrong in an illustration. Pastors and teachers beware. Jms. 3:1

    Like

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