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Can history tell us the supernatural exist?

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12/24/2015 4:53:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Im starting this thread as really some insight for people that probably do not bother to study the history of the world around us.
The first group I will start with is the ancient Israelite's aka the Jews. So can we trust that anyone in the Old Testament wrote anything true about what they said?
So what standard should we use? I found this on a wiki page about the historical method. I think most people would agree its a fair methodology

" Human sources may be relics such as a fingerprint; or narratives such as a statement or a letter. Relics are more credible sources than narratives.
Any given source may be forged or corrupted. Strong indications of the originality of the source increase its reliability.
The closer a source is to the event which it purports to describe, the more one can trust it to give an accurate historical description of what actually happened.
An eyewitness is more reliable than testimony at second hand, which is more reliable than hearsay at further remove, and so on.
If a number of independent sources contain the same message, the credibility of the message is strongly increased.
The tendency of a source is its motivation for providing some kind of bias. Tendencies should be minimized or supplemented with opposite motivations.
If it can be demonstrated that the witness or source has no direct interest in creating bias then the credibility of the message is increased."

I will be pulling most of the information from the digital library of the dead sea scrolls here. So what are the dead sea scrolls? Well they simply are collections of various scrolls, manuscripts and letters that were found in various caves thought to have been left behind by refugees. There are biblical and non biblical manuscripts that have been found in this collection. In this thread we will mostly be focusing on the biblical ones. The library explains that there are 230 manuscripts referred to as biblical scrolls.

"Among the Scrolls are partial or complete copies of every book in the Hebrew Bible (except the book of Esther). About a dozen copies of some of these holy books were written in ancient paleo-Hebrew (the script of the First Temple era, not the standard script of the time)."
It is believed that these texts were written during the second temple period which is approximately 500 b.c through 70 a.d with a dozen copies of the manuscripts written in the first temple period which would date them back as far as the 10th century b.c
Why is this relevant? Well its widely agreed that the events of the Old Testament cover a period from around 2000 b.c to about 400 b.c, the first author of the Torah being Moses would put the earliest originals around 1450-1400 B.C.
So according to the oldest copies we have of the Jewish texts, they range from being copies possibly written upwards of 1000 years after the fact to being written around the exact same time certain events have occurred in the Old Testament.
Now naturally one would object and be rightly skeptical as to how they can trust anything of originality could be still preserved after 1000 plus years however the simple fact that these manuscripts we have today only support that we have the same information being copied throughout history which has gotten to us today in the form of a modern Old Testament. So for example we may have a manuscript containing verses out of the book of Genesis or Isaiah and they say the same thing we have recorded as them saying today. Given that these manuscripts and scrolls are anywhere from 3000-2000 years old its quite an impressive feat to still have the same information preserved over that long of a period. There is not much room to doubt that the same zeal and consistency was kept in the day from the originals to the days of the dead sea scrolls themselves.
Now given the definition above what can we make of all this?
We have 204 manuscripts that are consistent with the same statements made in the modern Old Testament.
While none of the manuscripts are known to be originals (this would be impossible to identify from upwards of 3500 years ago) we know all of them to be written during the first and mostly second temple period which for the majority of the Old Testament is when said events take place. In turn outside the Torah, one is reasonably close to the date of actual events and the manuscripts we have discovered for today. Now if these things have been written over said periods of time there would be no problem writing other things in the same periods to contradict or explain away various events and occurrences. However we dont have any recorded competing ideas so to speak which give attestation to their originality.
Many would have been eye witnesses to the things written and kept in tact with such a religious zeal and in turn would discount otherwise.
There are in existence of the dead sea scrolls various manuscripts which are about the same scripture/verse of a particular book but discovered in a different location. This indicates a uniformity of information being passed along.
Also to add, there is no reason for these authors to make these things up so to speak. Although I welcome criticism there and anywhere else in this post. Im not a scholar and Im probably not even doing these scrolls justice as to the real impact they have on authenticating the ancient Israelite texts.
In my next post I will cover more civilizations and their beliefs about God.