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Secrets of the Cave of Letters: Rediscovering a Dead Sea Mystery [Hardcover]

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Item Number 416291  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 30, 2004
Publisher   Humanity Books
ISBN  1591022053  
EAN  9781591022053  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
One of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries in Israel took place in 1960, when the legendary Yigael Yadin excavated a cave in the Dead Sea area subsequently called the 'Cave of Letters'. Located near the site of the famous Dead Sea scrolls, the cave contained the largest cache of ancient personal correspondence and documents ever uncovered in Israel. In 1997, archaeologist Richard A Freund and a team from the University of Hartford returned to the Cave of Letters and discovered exciting new evidence about the use of the cave. Freund presents these intriguing findings in an absorbing account that combines fascinating history with elements of suspense and mystery.

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More About Richard A. Freund

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Richard A. Freund is Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. An archaeologist and ordained rabbi, he has been featured on National Geographic, NOVA, CNN, and the History and Discovery Channels. He is the author of several books, including Digging through the Bible, and he lives in Hartford, CT.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Israel   [1088  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General   [14547  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Dead Sea Scrolls   [74  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Illusory secrets  Dec 10, 2005
There is no doubt Richard Freund and his team have made some important discoveries as a result of their excavations at Bethsaida in Galilee, and the Cave of Letters near the Dead Sea, but some of the assumptions from the latter work go far beyond the evidence. In fairness the author prefaces his book with the proviso that it is written as a popular work and not as a heavy scientific treatise - that should not excuse the loose attention to detail that is seen throughout the book. One would still expect the statements of a respected professor to be more precise and factually accurate than they are. Statements like: "..the original Qumran and Scrolls research tended to focus upon the Essene sect as a proto-Christian group with little to tell us about Judaism." That may have been true for the few misguided commentators who saw Jesus in some of the Scroll writings, but all the texts are Old Testament biblical or entirely Judaistic and were recognised as such by most scholars from the very beginning. He repeatedly states all the Scrolls were written on leather or papyrus, and engraved on copper - ignoring the many on parchment and some ostraca.
When the author comes to talk about the Copper Scroll found near Qumran,the arguments become even more forced. Forced into a possibility that coins and bronze artefacts found in the Cave of Letters are actually referred to in this Scroll. The idea that the Copper Scroll was inscribed after the destruction of the Temple is a view held by very few scholars and cannot explain why the Scroll is talking about temple related items that would have either been hidden away prior to its destruction or looted by the Romans and was found buried along with other Dead Sea Scroll material dated to before 70 CE.The suggestion that the Scroll was found at a shallow depth in cave 3 and alongside coins from a later period is not consistent with the reports of the original excavators Contenson and Milik.
In order to bolster the idea that some of the base metal items mentioned in the Copper Scroll were found in the Cave of Letters, Freund says silver and gold "do not regularly appear" in the Copper Scroll texts. That is just not true. Precious metals are mentioned in almost every column. Whilst I am sure it is correct to downgrade the KK weight term associated with the treasures listed, from its previously accepted value of a biblical talent, it is unfortunate that Freund refers to a Persian karsh as the most likely correct unit. Long before this weight value was posited I suggested the Egyptian kite as the likely correct value - something he seems quite unaware of. This makes much more sense,especially when it is acknowledged that the numbering system used with the KK term is Egyptian.
Worse comes in Freund's own translation of what he calls item 25 from the Copper Scroll, which he sees as mentioning the Cave of Letters. For most translators his 'cave' is a 'gate' and he adds 'measures of treasure'where there are no such words.
Had Freund stuck to his archaeological findings and factual reporting of the excavations and not sought so many sensational speculative aspects the real value in this book would have stood more sharply on its own excellent feet.

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