Ever since they were first discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in the Judean desert in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the subject of endless debate and speculation, something which continues to this day.
Many thought, and still do, that the scrolls might challenge many of the assumptions about Judaism and about the origins of Christianity, a controversy that was exacerbated by the fact that there was initially only very limited access to the documents. It was not until as recently as 1991 that all 800 documents from eleven caves were finally available in translation, since when there have been numerous alternative theories put forward about their authorship, and critically their dating.
In this clear account John DeSalvo places the scrolls in their historical context, explains their classification and the methods of working and dating the scrolls as well as looking at specific texts. He also discusses the enigmatic Essene community at Qumran, and what has been learned about them from the artifacts, cemeteries and graves that surround the settlement at Khirbet Qumran.
The now famous Copper Scroll with its detailed list of supposed buried treasure is examined as are the theories surrounding this, such as the possible connection with the lost treasure of The Knights Templar. Finally, the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls to The New Testament, and the messianic Jesus is explored.