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The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus (German Edition) [Paperback]

By Hartmut Stegemann (Author) & Stegemann (Author)
Our Price $ 41.65  
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Item Number 196543  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   278
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.13" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   0.97 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 1998
Publisher   Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN  9004112103  
EAN  9789004112100  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Paperback $ 30.50 $ 25.93 143060 In Stock
Paperback $ 49.00 $ 41.65 196543
Item Description...
Northwest of the Dead Sea lies the ruins of a community long known to the Bedouins as "Khirbet Qumran". Almost 900 manuscript fragments have been found in caves near this site between 1947 and 1975, adding to the understanding of ancient Judaism. The discoveries at Qumran are documented in this volume. Hartmut Stegemann draws on 1990s research to decipher the meaning of the historical facts regarding the Qumran community and to answer in an understandable way many of the questions that have provoked speculation since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The text analyzes the purpose of the Qumran settlement itself and paint a picture of how daily life may have been carried on there. It probes similarities and differences between Essene baptism, commemorative meals, and eschatology and their early Christian counterparts. Also explored is the relation of the Qumran community to John the Baptist, to Jesus, and to early Christianity.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Two ideas new to me  Jan 3, 2006
I enjoyed Stegemann's book very much. In spite of the fact that he presented a great deal of material,I never felt bogged down in unnecessary detail.

Two ideas in his book were new to me. First, that the Teacher of Righteousness died of old age, when everything else that I have read has him being slain. Second, that the basis of normative Rabbinic Judaism has its roots in Essene theology. Again this goes against everything else that I have ever read, which has normative Rabbinic Judaism coming out of Pharasaic Judaism.
A great, comprehensive introduction  Jun 28, 2004
Hartmut Stegemann's text on the Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the most popular introductory texts of the subject available in the German language. Here translated into English, it is a welcome addition to the body of literature about the scrolls. While essentially it covers the same material as many other introductions on the scrolls, Stegemann's writing style, focus and authoritative manner are interesting and useful.

Stegemann's first few chapters discuss the discoveries and dating of the manuscripts. The earliest discoveries in the Qumrani region occurred in 1947/48, with the majority of the rest of the scrolls being found in the following decade. Stegemann addresses in these early chapters the issues of dating the scrolls and the publication process, which he defends vigourous, and he chides the detractors of the process, holding particular ire for the book 'The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception' by Baigent and Leigh, a popular book that sensationalised the scroll publication delay by speculating on sinister plots by church officials to suppress damaging revelations. Unfortunately, Stegemann's view, while justified for the most part in discounting books such as Baigent and Leigh's, does not take into account the academic territoriality which, while far less explosive and sensational than a Vatican-led plot of suppression, still has an element of shameful restriction to it.

Stegemann proceeds to explore the archaeological excavations and reconstructions of the Qumrani settlement, which, according to the official scroll team interpretations (of which Stegemann is a strong adherent, and are generally the most probable) was a monastic-type settlement of the Essenes, a minor Jewish sect; the scrolls for the most part consisted of the library of this community. Stegemann gives one of the better short introductions to the settlement available, going through the buildings and cemeteries, as well as the artifacts discovered, to piece together a portrait of the community.

Stegemann also explores the caves themselves, highlighting the discovery and contents of each of the eleven primary caves in turn. He also gives general information about the condition of the caves, other artifacts discovered, and alternate interpretations of the caves and their contents. For example, Norman Golb's view of the Qumrani structures is that they were military outposts; the Donceels consider it to be a private villa.

Stegemann gives a comprehensive survey of the types of materials found among the scrolls. the largest body is biblical manuscripts, which pushes the age of the original autographs of Hebrew bible texts back as far as 1500 years in some cases. There are nearly 200 different biblical manuscripts among the almost 900 scrolls, including some of the larger pieces, such as a nearly complete copy of the book of Isaiah dating from 100 BCE. The integrity of textual transmission through the ages was strengthened by the comparison of documents. They also strengthened the veracity of the dating of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Other documents discovered include apocyrphal, pseudipigraphical, commentary and Essene-original writings. There are also a good number of phylacteries among the documents found.

The final several chapters cover the Essenes, parallel images with the figures of John the Baptist and Jesus, and historical discussions of early Christianity and early Rabbinic Judaism. Stegemann's interpretation is that, far from the scrolls showing early Christians and figures such as John the Baptist as Essenes (some of the more sensational interpretations), that in fact the scroll discoveries make such parallels nearly impossible to support. He does propose that the Essenes were far more important in the development of early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism than previously thought, and that the position of the Pharisees has historically been overemphasised.

Stegemann gives a good list of suggested readings, several useful indexes, and a collection of worthwhile maps of the Palestinian region as well as the Dead Sea area and the excavations of Qumran in the back of the book.

This is an excellent one volume introduction and overview of the scrolls, from history to contents to translation to importance.

Good overview with a bit of speculation  Feb 27, 2001
This generally helpful book breaks from its task, I think, when it speculates about the character of pre-second temple Israelite religion. Up to that point it provides a lovely overview of the Qumran's reconstructed history, a skillful debunking of the sensational stories of Jesus and John the Baptist emerging from the sect, and a good rundown of the contents of the various Dead Sea Scrolls. All this is done responsibly and with an eye on the larger scholarly community.

The one part with which I took issue was his evaluation of pre-second temple Israelite religion. Contrary to much scholarly evidence, he maintains that, before the faction development that arose out of the second temple period, Israel was pretty much a monolithic religious entity. If this were the case, the many attacks on those who maintain shrines outside of Jerusalem (see Deuteronomy, Kings, etc.) would not be such a prominent part of the Scriptures.

Overall the book is excellent, and the pre-second temple material is only background to the main arguments. Overall this is certainly a book worth reading if one is interested in the scrolls at Qumran.


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