Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review 1st Edition

Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review 1st Edition

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A groundbreaking anthology that demolishes the myths -- and reveals the true significance -- of the greatest archaeological discovery of our time.

Ever since their initial discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have aroused excitement, jealousy, and not a little dread among some who feared their contents might undermine the foundations of Judaism and Christianity. For more than 35 years the majority of scroll texts remained the intellectual property of an exclusive coterie of scholars. Recently, however, the Biblical Archaeology Review succeeded in breaking that monopoly.

This path-clearing volume is an illuminating assessment of what these texts reveal about a lost era in the history of two world religions, Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. Were the Dead Sea Scrolls written by the Essenes, an ascetic sect of Jews that may have included John the Baptist among its members? Is the Copper Scroll a secret map to the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple? In what way do these books prefigure the teachings of early Christianity? Additional chapters address the controversies surrounding the Scrolls' discovery and their long suppression -- including the possible role of the Vatican and charges of anti-Semitism on the part of a former chief editor of the official scroll publication team.

From Library Journal


The discovery and publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the most important and controversial events in 20th-century biblical and related studies. As editor and publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), Shanks has observed the progress of Scroll studies and the heat they have generated. Here, he compiles 22 articles from the pages of BAR and Bible Review dealing with the discovery of the Scrolls, the ancient community that stored them away, and their impact upon the study of the Bible, Rabbinic Judaism, and early Christianity. Three chapters on the controversy surrounding the publication (and in many cases nonpublication) of the materials round out the volume. In the final chapter, Shanks reacts to the recent sensational book The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception ( LJ 1/92), labeling as "hogwash" their charge of Vatican suppression of Qumran material and interpretations that might undermine Church doctrine. The articles included are written by scholars but are easily accessible to lay readers. Coverage is balanced, including opposing viewpoints. There is one annoying omission: nowhere in the volume are the original publication dates of the articles given. This anthology is appropriate for public and academic libraries.
- Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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A groundbreaking anthology that demolishes the myths -- and reveals the true significance -- of the greatest archaeological discovery of our time.

Ever since their initial discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have aroused excitement, jealousy, and not a little dread among some who feared their contents might undermine the foundations of Judaism and Christianity. For more than 35 years the majority of scroll texts remained the intellectual property of an exclusive coterie of scholars. Recently, however, the Biblical Archaeology Review succeeded in breaking that monopoly.

This path-clearing volume is an illuminating assessment of what these texts reveal about a lost era in the history of two world religions, Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. Were the Dead Sea Scrolls written by the Essenes, an ascetic sect of Jews that may have included John the Baptist among its members? Is the Copper Scroll a secret map to the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple? In what way do these books prefigure the teachings of early Christianity? Additional chapters address the controversies surrounding the Scrolls' discovery and their long suppression -- including the possible role of the Vatican and charges of anti-Semitism on the part of a former chief editor of the official scroll publication team.

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