Sep 24, 2010 David Lang

Live-Blogging the Users' Conference

I don't do much live blogging, but I'm going to give it a try while at the inaugural Accordance Users' Conference. Check back here throughout the day for brief updates.

Note: You may need to hit the refresh button to see the latest comments.

We're in the introductory session right now. We've got a great crowd. Our company president is introducing each of the Accordance staff members.

Getting the Most Out of Accordance Commentaries

In Greg Ward's session on "Getting the Most Out of Accordance Commentaries." He started working with Accordance as a job to get him through seminary and is still with us fifteen years later.

Ward is now explaining the difference between search engines that rely heavily on metadata tagging and the Accordance approach, which distinguishes different "fields" of content and enables you to search those fields in extremely flexible ways.

To search everything in a given field of a tool, select the field you want in the pop-up menu, then enter ?* and hit return. Now everything in that field will be highlighted. Good tip for getting to know what is contained in each of the fields of a new tool.

Ward explains that commentators often go off into wonderful tangents, excurses, etc. At times, these discourses may go into detail about Bible passages in books other than the one being covered by that commentary. How do you find those hidden gems in a large multi-volume commentary.

Ward's example: finding sections of Tyndale commentary which speak on the theme of unity in Ephesians. Obviously, you could go to the section of the commentary which covers Ephesians, but there may be relevant discussions in the other parts of that commentary. By doing a multi-field search for Unity in the English content field and Ephesians in the Scripture field, he finds relevant discussions throughout the entire commentary.

Now showing similar searches in Grudem's Systematic Theology.


The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

Dr. Martin Abegg, one of our keynote speakers, was unable to make the conference for family reasons, so Roy Brown is substituting for him in our first plenary session. Roy won't be talking about "finding Elvis in the Dead Sea Scrolls," but his keynote still promises to be an interesting introduction to the impact the Dead Sea Scrolls have had on Biblical studies.

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls? A group of ~1000 manuscripts found near Dead Sea in Israel. Found mostly in 11 caves found near Khirbet Qumran from 1947 to 1956. Later more scrolls found outside of Qumran.

Scrolls were written about 250 BC to 70 AD. Most written in Hebrew, using primarily Aramaic script but some in ancient Hebrew script. Some written in Aramaic and Greek as well.

Most scrolls written on parchment, others on papyrus.

Showing picture of Isaiah scroll. A few intact scrolls but most of the DSS are fragments.

Also one scroll made of copper.

What kinds of manuscripts found?

40% are Biblical texts. 10% are extra-Biblical texts like Enoch. 50% are unique documents found nowhere else.

How were scrolls discovered?

First scrolls found by Bedouin shepherds and sold to antiquity dealers. Others discovered in other caves at Qumran.

Most scrolls now housed at the Shrine of the Book museum. Some in Jordan. Some held by private collectors.

The Biblical Scrolls

Portions of every book of Hebrew Bible except Esther. Multiple copies of Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah.

These were written about 1000 years earlier than Masoretic text, several hundred years before oldest copy of Greek Septuagint.

Accuracy of Biblical Scrolls

Most scrolls very close to Masoretic text.

Showing scroll written in Aramaic script but YHWH written in paleo-Hebrew script.

The Qumran site

All 11 caves found within 2km of Qumran site. Now showing images of Qumran site. Aqueduct, ritual baths, dining room, inkwell.

Who was at Qumran?

A Jewish community. Most scholars believe a strict group called the Essenes. They called themselves Yahad (union).

Essenes were one of three main sects of Judaism, along with Pharisees and Sadducees. Mystical, strong focus on prophecy and coming of messiah.

Contents of scrolls seem to show thinking and way of life of Qumran community. Some scrolls may have been written elsewhere and brought to Qumran for safekeeping.

The Nonbiblical scrolls


Rule of the Community (1QS): rules for living in Yahad community

War Scroll (1QM): prophecy and rules of war between sons of light and sons of darkness

Copper Scroll (3Q15): description and map to undiscovered treasure

What's connection between Scrolls and Hebrew Bible?

Believed in Law of Moses, Emphasis on prophetic books as well

Now showing plot showing which books of Bible quoted in DSS. Very different pattern from MIshna's use of Hebrew Bible. Now showing that NT use of Hebrew Bible was very similar to the way the Qumran inhabitants used the Hebrew Bible. In other words, NT writers and DSS writers were concerned about similar issues and used Hebrew Bible in similar ways.

What's connection between Scrolls and NT

Both quote Hebrew Bible and focus on similar issues. Scrolls had strong connection with Hebrew Bible but weak connections with NT, especially where identity of Messiah concerned.

Tantalizing connections between Scrolls and John the Baptist. Also connection between DSS War Scroll and NT use of term "sons of light." Also connection between Scrolls and Paul's use of term "works of the law." Don't find this phrase in rabbinical tradition, but do find it in DSS (4QMMT). Paul uses term to refer to teachings on feasts, food, and circumcision, but not moral issues. 4QMMT teaches that righteousness comes from adherence to ritual law, similar to Paul's opponents in Galatians.

Interesting that many of the issues of the scrolls are still with us today.

Demo of Accordance scrolls modules

Showing tagged text of non-Biblical scrolls with English translation and index explaining what is contained in each scroll.

Now showing tagged text of Biblical scrolls with English translation and Dead Sea Scrolls images. Accordance is the only program with Qumran Biblical manuscripts.

Bookmark and Share

Archived Comments

Ron Webber

September 24, 2010 3:50 PM

Sounds like a great opportunity to offer a special on the Qumran materials. Any chance of that?

Helen Brown

September 24, 2010 4:50 PM

If you are here you get an extra 15% off the greatly discounted DSS add-on combos.