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The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English [Hardcover]

By Martin G. Abegg (Author), Peter Flint (Author) & Eugene Ulrich (Author)
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Item Number 56336  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   672
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.5" Height: 2"
Weight:   2.44 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 1999
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060600632  
EAN  9780060600631  
Point/Type Size: 0.00

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English is the first full English translation of the Hebrew scriptures used by the Essene sect at Qumran. (The Essenes, along with the Pharisees and Saducees, were among the three most influential Jewish groups of their time [150 B.C. to 68 A.D.]). Between 1947 and 1956, in 11 caves overlooking the Dead Sea, more than 800 manuscripts of two types were found. The first are called "biblical"--because they contain material that was later canonized in the Hebrew Bible; the second are called "non-Biblical"--because they contain poetry, rules for holy living, and imaginative, midrashic interpretations that are unique to the community that produced them.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible comprises the biblical manuscripts, including many new Psalms, Apocryphal books, and previously unknown readings of Deuteronomy and Isaiah (which appear to have been among the most important books of the Bible to this group of Essenes). The translation of each book is preceded by an introduction that describes the text's importance to the Essenes, their distinctive interpretations of the text, and suggestions of how historical and political events may have shaped these interpretations. Translators Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich have loaded this volume with scholarly notes and commentary, but their interpretations are formatted in a way that does not impede the general reader's enjoyment of the book. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible breathes new life into scripture by delving into the earliest source material yet discovered. It is a crucial work to reckon with for anyone interested in Jewish life around the time of Jesus. --Michael Joseph Gross

Book Description

From the dramatic find in the caves of Qumran, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible presents the world's most precious and ancient version of the Bible. One thousand years older than any existing manuscripts, these scrolls allow us to read the Bible it was in the time of Jesus.

Preserving parts of all but one biblical book, scrolls confirm that the text of the Old Testament as it has been handed down through the ages is largely correct. Yet, they also reveal numerous important differences. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible:

  • Offers new and striking textual readings that clarify millennia-old puzzles

  • Restores lost psalms

  • Reveals previously unknown details about the lives of biblical figures

  • Provides new information on how the Hebrew Bible was created

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible presents all 220 of the Dead Sea biblical scrolls, arranged to be read in canonical order. The texts are translated into English by Eugene Ulrich, one of the three general editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Peter Flint and Martin Abegg Jr., the directors of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute. Commentary by the editors provides insight into the rich cultural and religious traditions behind the scrolls and the Bible itself.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An ancient book, still a joy to read  Mar 19, 2007
I thought this was an interesting version of the old testament because while it comes directly from the oldest manuscripts, it took much devotion to get it right, given the wide ranging gaps in the parchments. Still, all in all, I am glad I have added this book to my faith literature.
Enlightening  Mar 10, 2006
As I continue to search for truth, I found this book most enlightening. This book in conjunction with other scholarly work concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls has enhanced my understanding of bibical history.
BIASED?  Feb 23, 2006
As much as I don't doubt that this is a good translation of the biblical texts from the dead sea scrolls, I am starting to question whether or not this book is Biased in the sense that it favors more of the author's, publisher's and reviewer's beliefs rather than what the actual texts really mean and really say. Could this edition be a Biased translation, with the author's comments and interpretation of the texts rather than just strictly, WHAT IT SAYS. First off they call it the Dead Sea Scrolls BIBLE, which, being that it contains most of the "biblical" documents in the scrolls, makes sense. But the fact that they even refer to it as a "Bible" tells me that they are selling it as a tool of present day mainstream Judaism and Christianity, which, we all know, are biased against the original true teachings to promote their own agenda and suppress and discredit evidence that suggest otherwise.

That is just my opinion, and I would like to know definitively if this book is Biased, because if it is, It defeats the purpose of a English translation...of knowing what it REALLY says rather than what the authors want it to say because it goes against their mainstream beliefs.
Exceptional Times Deserve Exceptional Opportunity  Oct 16, 2005
January 2, 2007: I've reconsidered the wisdom of excluding Enoch and Jubilees. My reasoning, based on Kenneth Hanson's observation in "Secrets from the Lost Bible", goes like this: If the apocrypha were so imporant to the Qumran Community that they kept multiple copies of these scrolls, then they must have been highly important. Who decided to leave out Enoch and Jubilees? The present editors, based on modern conventions, and not those of the ancients. Was "Biblical" different to the Essenes than to us? If so, then a proper Dead Sea Scrolls Bible should accurately portray the ancients' values, not our present ones.

February 22, 2006: The Book of Esther is the only known Bible book not represented among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In a 2004 Penguin edition of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English, scholar Geza Vermes suggests that this may be just accidental, rather than intentional. The latest edition of Vermes' long standing work, which contains the greater body of noncanonical scrolls and fragments, recommends our present work, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible by editors Abegg, Flint & Ulrich, as the standard for Biblical DSS.

January 13, 2006: I now understand why neither the Jubilees nor the Book of Enoch were included in this anthology, except as a placeholder reference page. Jubilees and Enoch are not considered canon, and so do not properly fall into inclusion with the purely Biblical books as the editors of Dead Sea Scrolls Bible intended.

Incidentally, I am beginning to recognize the Florentino Garcia Martinez re-translation as the most important single compilation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the lay library. If you don't own one yet, they ain't making any more of them. There are several scroll fragments of The Book of Enoch represented in the Garcia Martinez that you cannot get in the other major English translations extant. Reading them is an enjoyable excercise in reconstructing a single coherent document from several "broken" or fragmented documents.

My Living Review

I am into Exodus of this fine Bible, and as I study and read, I will avail myself for further commenting. I like to skip through the anthology, to break up the monotony.

First, a couple of criticisms:

(noted by previous reviewer) The changing of the names of God, including YHVH, or Elohim, into "the Lord". There is a clue here as to the paradigm from which the editors are framing the context of this Bible translation. The editors seem to have fallen back on traditional and safe renderings, when in doubt. I suppose the solution here is for me to read the original Hebrew and Aramaic.

Another clue to the editors' conservative frame of reference is found at least in the beginning (pun intended), in the Book of Genesis. I recently heard a rabbi speak about the phrase, "Let there be light". What this rabbi said was interesting, and made sense. The Creator, as this gentleman put it, would not have said, "Let there be light", which has the connotation of asking or requesting that another entity do the actual turning on of the light. What the Supreme Being really said, according to this rabbi, was something more along the lines of, "Light: Be it!" In this case, no intercession is inferred. I'll leave you to ponder and discuss this, as it is like the "number of angels dancing on the head of a pin" argument. But my point is that the editors were not thinking out of the box: If you have 2,000 year old Aramaic right in front of you, "Let there be light" is not an inspired (pardon the irony) translation.

(also noted by previous reviewers) Lack of reference headers at the top of each page. This book is over 600 pages long, and it is ever so irritating to put it down, and have to back peddal a few pages to remind myself which Biblical book I happen to be reading at this time. Maybe something good will come out of this discipline of memorizing which page corresponds to which Book. This problem is one of those annoyances that should be refined and cured in later editions. I suppose the Honda Civic wasn't a very fleshed out automobile, either, when it first came to market. This is one of the first indications that the editors seemed to be trying to beat someone else to the punch with this title or anthology of DSS.

A third criticism, a continuation of my previous statement, is the apology that the editors proffer for speeding this translation through to publication. Perhaps after maturing in further editions, a finer translation will be cultivated? Let us pray!

A fourth criticism is the use of little gray triangles to denote sections where two or more verses are missing. Is this gray triangle an original invention? I don't like it, it's too-- modern? Gimmicky? I think a better and simpler symbol to use should be the pipe symbol "|". For example, where one verse is missing, the symbol can be |. Where two or three verses are missing, multiple pipes in a row can be used, like || or |||. The pipe has got to be more enduring than the silly, ugly graphic triangle that stands out like a cornstalk in a barley patch. Can you guys take care of this, please?

Let's get past the small stuff: I am loving this book as an attempt to breath life into an old story. But this time, we get to see it pretty much as it was written and socked away long before Emperor Constantine's time. I feel like I have a leg up on established Christian sects, e.g. the Catholics and Protestants, who have been humbly democratized by these treasures. I am finally understanding something about the DSS, that we were lucky enough that several copies of most of the books are extant, making a reasonably accurate, complete and resolved composite. For example, by now many of you are familiar with the use of brackets [this is bracketed text] and why portions are bracketed. What I trust in this edition of the Bible is that what lies between the bracket is not just an educated guess, but is often taken from another scroll where that section of text was still intact. If there are three copies of Exodus, we can reassemble most of the Book of Exodus. And that is what the editors have done here. We have reasonably complete Biblical books that are at least 2,000 years old. It's like finding an ancient jar of strawberry jam, and being able to pick out enough of the preserved jam from the mold to make a sandwich. Sure, you don't have the whole quart of jam, but the jam you are lucky enough to be eating is 2,000 years old and delicious.

I have other books, like Eisenman and Wise's "The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered", and Wise, Abegg & Cook's "Dead Sea Scrolls", Vermes's translation in to English of non-canonical texts, which I like very much. You may wonder how they can all be different, and yet, they are, both in translation style and topic. For instance, "Uncovered" presents a more esoteric selection, Kabbalistic or Gnostic in their allegory. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible are manuscripts that were later deemed canonical and thus, entered as books of the Bible. I will promote this book a few notches in my list of DSS recommended reading, it serves a real purpose in the wealth of other publications on the DSS.

A lucky age in which we live, reading what the bishops of Nicea did not. Ofcourse, you can't just throw out a translation of the earliest Biblical manuscripts ever, without referencing the source(s) of our modern Bibles. These editors have done that, by providing the italicized differences with the Masoretic text and/or other DSS copies, and also comparisons with the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagent (LXX). This is mildly useful, as the Masoretic text, to my less trained eye, doesn't reveal any substantial differences. To me, it looks like the Dead Sea Old Testament manuscripts differed very little from what we read in modern times. Amazing!

You should not give away your usual reference Bible, however, as there tend to be missing chunks of continuity, naturally. In the Book of Genesis, some serious chunks are missing, and we stumble into the scene where God is instructing Noah on how to build an ark (pg. 8, Ch. 5 to 6), before the story of Caine comes to its end as we normally read it. This kind of jumping from the middle of one story to the middle of another is frequent enough that I had to pull a King James off the shelf to see what it was I was missing. No fault of the editors, though.

added 10-18-2005: Check out the detailed treatment of the Psalms, starting in the "Other Books" section on pg. 505. This is succulent education, as is the history and sensual subtext of the Song of Songs.
The Dead Sea Scrolls For The Educated Public.   Sep 5, 2005
A useful first effort; it brings the Qumran manuscripts into the living rooms of the general public. I qualify this - it is more of a study aid for scholars than for the ordinary believer. I doubt more than 1 in 10 readers could understand the use of parentheses or the footnote apparatus.
Also there is room for improvement in identifying book, chapter, and verse, on all pages.
Finally, I know for a fact that the DSS contain the tetragram, YHWH, in thousands of places. Why, then, in this translation are we presented instead with the limp substitute "the LORD" instead of the translations of either "Yahweh" or "Jehovah"?

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