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Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader From the Biblical Archaeology Review (Vintage) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.97" Width: 5.15" Height: 0.77"
Weight:   0.77 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 29, 1993
Publisher   Vintage
ISBN  0679744452  
EAN  9780679744450  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
Ever since their initial discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have aroused excitement, jealousy, and not a little dread among some who feard 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?

Publishers Description
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.

Buy Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader From the Biblical Archaeology Review (Vintage) by Hershel Shanks from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780679744450 & 0679744452

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More About Hershel Shanks

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Shanks is the founder and editor-in-chief of "Biblical Archaeology Review", "Bible Review", and "Archaeology Odyssey", and the author of several major books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem, and biblical archaeology.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Dead Sea Scrolls   [203  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Interesting perspectives from those in the know  Jun 8, 2007
With the anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls coming up and having the scrolls come to my own backyard (San Diego) this year, I decided to do a little research into the scrolls. While I have a pretty good understanding of them, this book was very helpful. I especially enjoyed the stories of the discovery of the scrolls and how they were able to piece together the fragments. The book is filled with contributions from different writers, and honestly, it loses a star because some of the selections were boring and over my head anyway. But that wasn't true with most of them, and I have to say that Shanks did his usual best in putting everything together. Well worth reading for those wanting to know more about these.
 
Good Contrast  Nov 10, 2006
I really liked this book as it covers many of the controversial issues regarding the dead sea scrolls. Each side is covered by an article written by an expert in that area. Because of this the book is nonbiased and allows you to see some of the best arguments from each side. I found this book very informative and interesting. I actually read it in college and had to buy recently because I had so often wanted to reread portions of it.
 
Fascinating Archaeological and Biblical Find  May 16, 2006
This fascinating book makes archeology come alive like no other ... While herding their flock of goats, Bedouins discovered a cave which contained jars holding animal skin parchments that turned out to be an ancient library. Their discovery in Cave 1 uncovered seven nearly intact scrolls of immense value to Biblical scholars. In "Da Vinci Code" fashion [without the murders thank you very much!] the mysteries surrounding how the scrolls *finally* reached qualified scholars is a great reading experience. The editor Hershel Shanks selected articles from Biblical Archeology Review providing different viewpoints and scholarly opinions regarding the meaning behind the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are multiple views about the identity of the community who lived in Qumran itself. The discovery of these scrolls has been one of the best kept secrets by scholars and dealers of antiquity. They guarded their treasures with fierce passion! This is a very narrow field of study confined to a limited number of qualified experts. Due to the nature of research and jealousies surrounding access to the treasure and the implications for publication, i.e., to be the *first*, information is not readily shared. However nearly 60 years have now passed since their discovery and although over 800 manuscripts and fragments are scattered over the globe, much of it is carefully preserved in Israel for future generations of scholars to explore. The key to their meaning and implications for religous teaching and practice of Judaism and Christainity lies in these ancient documents. The interpretation by scholars is dreaded by some and is welcomed by many. To quote from an ancient passage, "Know the truth and the truth shall set you free". Not everyone is able to handle freedom, many need their myths and legends which masquerade as truth.

There are illuminating articles which discuss the nature of the controversies and differences of religious ideas as expressed by the Nazarenes, the Essenes, Zadokites, Sadducces and Pharisees all of whom were active during the time when the Qumran community existed. These articles are erudite and very readable. One gets a feel for the ancient times when Hellenization, Jewish identity, and the quest to survive in the global world village of their time, the Middle East, caused conflicts both internally and externally ... The reader gets a better understanding of the ancient Jewish writings, the Mishnah, the Talmud, as well as the practice of halakhah. The discussion regarding the Temple Scroll [written about 2,500 years ago] is among the best. This subject is examined by the eminent scholar Yigael Yadin. One can compare his views to that of Hershel Shanks and Hartmut Stegmann. They all provide unique ideas on how religion played an important part in the lives of ancient people.

The chapter written by James C. Vanderkam sheds light on important verses in the New Testament which might have originated from passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This has a huge impact on understanding the roots of Christianity ... Another extremely interesting hypothesis is offered by Robert Eisenman of California State University. He postulates that Judas Maccabee, John the Baptist, Jesus and his brother James belonged to the Zadokite movement which was an off-shoot of the Essene community. *Before* the discovery of the Qumran scrolls the only literature that existed about the early Christians was based on Latin and Greek texts. New Testament scholars benefited enormously by the Dead Sea Scrolls which are a primary source written in Hebrew and Aramaic dating back to the times in question. The description of sacred meals, sacred baths and baptism like rituals, and the making of a covenant date back much further than this reader thought. Lastly, the relationship of rabbinic Judaism as practiced before and after the destruction of the Temple (AD 70) shows that there is great continuity in the laws and practices of the Pharisees ... It is hard to summarize just how important the Dead Sea Scrolls are to understanding the role of relgion in the lives of the people in the ancient past and how the roots of religion and continuity of belief systems are connected to both Judaism and Christianity as they exist today. Undoubtedly there may be even more surprising revelations in the future as scholars study the Dead Sea Scrolls further and connect the root sources with current interpretations and writings.
Erika Borsos [pepper flower]

 
"A CLOAK AND DAGGER AFFAIR"-Yigael Yadin  Oct 8, 2004
Yigael Yadin was describing the world of dead sea scroll scholarship which began in 1947 when the first scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin boy herding his animals in the Judean hills. The scrolls were then shuttled to the antiquities market; sacred, holy words were now up for sale, and not at dime store prices! The "cloak and dagger affair" then began. (The temple scroll was obtained for $105,000 by the Israeli's after the six day war of 1967). Years later, many other caves were found containing ancient scrolls. Hershel Shanks, in his overview, states that, in this book, the articles discuss the dead sea scrolls from 11 caves at and around Qumran. There are many aspects to these finds: the political dimension, the religious one, the preservation of, the new data itself, and differing opinions of biblical scholars. Hershel Shanks divides the 22 chapters of this book into 9 sections: the find, where they came from, the temple scroll, the dead sea scrolls and the bible, the dead sea scrolls and christianity, the dead sea scrolls and rabbinic judaism, the copper scroll, reconstructing the scrolls, and controversy and the scrolls.

I read this four years ago, in preparation for a pilgrimage to Israel, where we were to see Masada and the Dead Sea manuscripts which are now housed at the Shrine of the Book which is a part of the Israel Museum. I chose this one from many others at my local library; it looked like a good introduction to someone like me with little knowledge of this aspect of biblical scholarship. I was pleased with the contents. Hershel Shanks wrote 5 of the 22 chapters, the rest written by other scholars in this field. Each chapter is prefaced with a brief summary of the contents by the editor. (I admire Hershel Shanks' scientific approach to considering all of the evidence and hypotheses that emerge from the analyses of the many manuscripts; he never generalizes, exercizes great care in making any statement, very fair in his analyses, perfect traits for an editor). The book is comprehensive and captures the aura of this "cloak and dagger business".
 
a layman's collection of essays from the scholars  Dec 23, 2003
Readable to the armchair scholar, the essays contained in this book avoid the extremes of esotericism that many books on the subject fall victim to. One is introduced to the story of the scrolls, their exciting discovery, and their contribution to our understanding of the history surrounding the Jewish nation and culture - as well as some of the challenges and controversies that have attended the handling of the scrolls by an elite group.

Almost every scholar who has anything to say about the scrolls has indulged in a little over-interpolation or over-extrapolation, which is to say, reading more into the scrolls than is actually there. Examples of this are the sensational claims made by some that the scrolls contained evidence that John the Baptist was an Essene, or that Christianity was based on Qumran doctrines - all unfounded speculation, of course. You'll find a little of that in here, but the discerning reader can filter it out, if you keep in mind that scholars are just people, and they like to gossip, speculate, and run off at the imagination as much as the rest of us do. And you'll find an equal dose of myth-debunking here too, exposing the folly of some of the sensationalism.

I like this collection of essays, and consider it a valuable window to the mysterious world of Qumran and its hidden scroll collection. Recommended.

 

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