It is said that this so called oldest complete torah scroll is only 800 years old.

The Christians uses Septuagint that they(or we?) claim is older. I suspected that Christians uses Septuagint to fit their agenda.

However, after reading the above article, I began to suspect. Septuagint are indeed older.

So how come Jews don't have old surviving ancient scrolls like Christians?

And is that merely 800 years old scroll really the oldest?

  • Note that the article says the oldest complete scroll. There are older partial copies, though I don't know the details. (Also, I'm not sure the Christians have ancient complete copies of their texts either.) Sep 8 '13 at 1:36
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    Jews certainly have older complete codices even if we don't have older complete scrolls. The oldest complete Jewish codex of Tanakh is just over 1000 years old.
    – Double AA
    Sep 8 '13 at 1:50
  • britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/403870/Nash-Papyrus oh so fragments are older. If ark of convenant is found, will the torah copy there be the oldest?
    – user4951
    Sep 9 '13 at 3:51
  • The Samaritans CLAIM their Abisha Scroll, a Torah variant, was written by the great-grandson of Aaron "in the 13th year of the settlement of the land"..around 1400 BCE.
    – Gary
    Sep 11 '13 at 3:47

Exactly as Double AA and Monica Cellio point out in the comments — the article is talking about Torah scrolls, i.e. the text of the Torah written on parchment according to specific rules, rolled around wooden 'atzei hayyim, to be used during ritual readings of the Torah in synagogue. We do have older books containing the text of the Torah, or even the TaNaKh, and of course the Dead Sea Scrolls represent a very ancient tradition for almost the entire TaNaKh. The article itself explains:

The find isn't the oldest Torah text in the world. The Leningrad and the Aleppo bibles - both of them Hebrew codexes, or books - pre-date the Bologna scroll by more than 200 years. But this is the oldest Torah scroll [according to the professor].

There are many reasons why Torah scrolls haven't survived... Many were no doubt destroyed in the various times when Jewish communities were being persecuted. And in any case parchment texts will decay and wear out with age and regular use. Since it is common practice to bury a ripped or worn out Torah scroll, it is rare for scrolls to be preserved for more than a few hundred years. This one is certainly a marvelous find!

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