Page 5 - March Edition
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TREFOIL GUILD

The March meeting of the Chalfont St Peter Trefoil Guild will be
held at the Big Brew/Traidcraft event in the Parish Church Hall
on Wednesday 1st March.
Members are asked to gather at 12.30pm in the hall when they can all
enjoy time together with a chat over lunch. If you have any questions or
want to know more about future events, please contact Cheryll Older on
01753 885131.

A PRICELESS FIND – BY ACCIDENT

70 years ago this year a couple of
shepherds in the hills above Qumran near
the Dead Sea idly threw a stone into what
they thought was an empty cave. When
they heard the sound of smashing pottery
they searched inside, and found the most
important biblical discovery of the century.
Their stone led them to what became known
as the Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts of the
entire Hebrew Bible except for the book of
Esther, stored in clay vessels. The scrolls
were the work of a religious community
called the Essenes, who lived near that site before and during the life of
Jesus.
As scholars slowly unravelled them – taking decades – they discovered
that they were handling manuscripts of the Bible which were hundreds of
years older than any we had previously possessed. Most of the biblical
manuscripts on which our translations had previously been based were
copies of copies, carefully crafted in monasteries over the centuries by
people dedicated to preserving the sacred text. But inevitably, there were
occasional slips in the copying, and at times it’s obvious that those who
were doing it didn’t understand the words they were copying.
So, in February 1947, the world had access to a much older and therefore
more accurate record of the Jewish Scriptures – the Bible of Jesus and the
first Christians. The most remarkable thing is actually how few ‘mistakes’
there were, seeing the centuries of copying – and not one that seriously
affects our fundamental understanding of the Bible.
Those two shepherds, 70 years ago, ensured that we today have a Bible
text which is as close to the original as one could ever hope to get. How
fortunate that they threw the stone into the right cave!

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