John C. Trever

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls many scholars have drawn parallels between the mysterious Jewish sect which produced these scrolls sometime in the first centuries B.C./A.D. and the early Christian community. In this article, Jack Finegan asserts that various marks, inked next to passages with messianic implications, influenced the adoption of the cross in Christianity.

Shown here is a portion of the great Isaiah Scroll (41:23–42:17, column 35, 1QIsa) In the right margin, two X-marks (cross-marks) and a line with a loop on top are visible. The latter mark is similar to the Egyptian hieroglyph for “life,” the ankh. At the top of the left column is another X-mark and, toward the bottom, a short undulating line. The marks almost always refer to the text to the left. Thus the X-mark in the upper right margin draws attention to the line of Hebrew to its left, which is the first verse of Isaiah 42: “Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect, in whom my soul delights, I have put my spirits on him.”