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What if the Dead Sea Scrolls were not a product of an Essene Community at Qumran? In this bold reassessment of the archaeological evidence of Qumran and other nearby first-century sites on the western shore of the Dead Sea, Professor Hirschfeld argues persuasively that Qumran is not the site of an Essene community hitherto thought to be responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls. Reassessing and marshalling the evidence (some of which was overlooked in earlier explanations of the site) with the skill of a detective reconstructing the scene of a crime, Hirschfeld reveals that Qumran was not the communal site of an impoverished and ascetic religious group, but the prosperous estate of an influential member of society. Bringing a new understanding to the textual evidence of the archaeology of the site during the Roman period as well as evidence from neighboring archaeological sites, Hirschfeld dramatically illustrates his arguments with more than 135 maps, archaeological drawings and reconstructions, as well as vivid photographs of the archaeological and geographic sites. A masterpiece of argument with lasting impact on our understanding of the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this work will be discussed in academic circles for years to come and will be appreciated by all who are intrigued by the mysteries surrounding the ancient texts associated with Qumran. The implications of this new perspective for the scholarly understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls are earth-shifting.
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