Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center/Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

The ‘Son of God’ text, one of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments found in Qumran Cave 4, consists of two columns of nine lines each in the Aramaic language. We lack the beginnings of the lines in the first column, which has been damaged on the right (Aramaic, like Hebrew, is read from right to left). The second column ends in mid-sentence, so the document originally must have possessed at least a third column.

This text, dated to the late first century B.C.E., has extraordinary parallels to the annunciation scene in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:31–35), including use of the titles “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High,” the earliest known references to these terms in a messianic context. These parallels strongly suggest a relationship between this Qumran text and the later Gospel text, if not a direct dependence, then a dependence on a common tradition.