WEST BANK — 70 years after the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Qumran, archaeologists have unearthed yet another scroll in the Qumran cave system.
The discovery marks the most recent in what seems to be an endless string of scrolls spread throughout the area caves. However, decoders and biblical scholars have worked together to uncover a story unlike those written in any of the other papyrus scrolls. This lost gospel has been nicknamed the “Poor Man’s Gospel” by the decoders, who have worked to decipher its meaning.
“Our entire image of Jesus has been reshaped by this story. Before now, we’ve always seen Jesus as a champion of the poor and meek,” said biblical scholar Ben Al-Khalil. “But here we see that when the poor man begs for food from Jesus, he tells the man to get up and work for it. Jesus lets the man know that if he wasn’t so lazy, he wouldn’t be poor and wouldn’t have to beg. Jesus then tells the man, the real thing he lacks is not riches, but richness of the spirit. He tells him, the greatest gift I can give you is nothing, and he leaves, letting the poor man ponder how his moral flaws were the cause of his poverty.”
This is great news for Christians, considering a recent poll that came out showing that they are more than twice as likely than non-Christians to blame people’s poverty on a lack of effort.
“With a revised picture of the life of Jesus, we know that he was very clear about how he felt about the impoverished. Our New Testament version was incomplete,” said Al-Khalil. “Jesus even told the man the parable of the rotten fruit, likening him to a fruit that’s fallen off the tree and will surely rot. On another occasion, in the newfound scroll, a Good Samaritan-type tried to give a homeless man a loaf of bread, but Jesus grabbed it from him, and told the Good Samaritan that if man shall not work, he shall not eat.”
The discovery of this most recent lost gospel has generated new interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has led many to wonder what other biblical treasures may be buried in the Qumran caves. It is expected that nearly 12 million dollars will go towards large scale excavations of the area in 2018.