The Integrity of the Text
An even more surprising find from The En-Gedi scroll was that when scholars in Israel interpreted the text, it exactly matched the Masoretic version, which is the foundational Hebrew text used in Bibles around the world today. Not a single variant was found but it conformed to every word and every letter.
The oldest complete Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in the Masoretic form is the Leningrad Codex from AD 1008 and other copies with only portions of the text survive from a couple centuries earlier. Many scholars cite this reality to maintain that the Masoretic text came relatively late in the development of the Bible – about 1000 years after other versions such as the Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint.
Dr. Emanuel Tov from Hebrew University in Jerusalem is a linguist, biblical scholar and leading authority on the Dead Sea scrolls that participated in the study. He stated that the charred En-Gedi scroll is “100 percent identical” to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries. “This is quite amazing for us. In 2,000 years, this text has not changed.”
“The En-Gedi scroll even duplicates the exact paragraph breaks seen later in the medieval Hebrew. The only difference between the two is that ancient Hebrew had no vowels, so these were added in the Middle Ages.”
It is interesting to note that manuscripts discovered at sites other than Qumran (including Masada and Wadi Murabba‛at) are closer to the Masoretic Text and in some cases even match it. These were places where Jews from the Temple (and thus connected to its central orthodoxy) fled after its destruction in AD 70, so they took their official texts with them. According to Yardeni, after this point all Hebrew biblical manuscripts that we know of reflect the Masoretic text, and not the variety seen at Qumran.
Jewish tradition holds that the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) has been copied by hand with meticulous care going back to Moses himself. The amazing En-Gedi scroll supports this claim and shows that an exact representation of the modern biblical text was in use and was probably the standard version nearly 2000 years ago.
Taken from: http://patternsofevidence