The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls

4.5 2
by Hershel Shanks
     
 

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More than 60 years have passed since the world-shaking discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a desert cave by Bedouin shepherds. Here with this text, after decades of controversy surrounding their dissemination and interpretation, is the fullest account of what the scrolls possibly reveal—how they challenge our understanding of the origins of Christianity,

Overview

More than 60 years have passed since the world-shaking discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a desert cave by Bedouin shepherds. Here with this text, after decades of controversy surrounding their dissemination and interpretation, is the fullest account of what the scrolls possibly reveal—how they challenge our understanding of the origins of Christianity, shake the authority of the Hebrew Bible, and provide a new perspective on Judaism at the time of Jesus.

Almost everyone has heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few people can explain what they say or why they are significant. In The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hershel Shanks, the controversial editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, gives a powerful account of their religious and historical context plus their dissemination, meaning, and implications.

Of the 800 manuscripts that were found, less than a dozen were intact. The rest were mere fragments. The scrolls contain a vast array of amazing new material: unknown psalms, biblical commentaries, calendrical texts, and apocalyptic manuscripts, many of which seem to foreshadow Christian doctrine. Over 200 biblical manuscripts were hidden in the Qumran caves, some dramatically different from accounts in the Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls provide inimitable insight into the turbulent religious world at the time of Jesus, when Jewish society was richly varied and hotly contentious—so much so that some scholars now refer to Judaisms, rather than to a single Judaism.

This is a clear, definitive account for the layperson and the scholar of the mystery and meaning of the scrolls—a model of insight and understanding.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Using archeological evidence as well as literary and historical criticism, Shanks conducts a survey of the major opinions on the matter to conclude that ""if it weren't for the proximity of the scrolls to Qumran we would never think of Qumran as the site of an isolated religious community."" Finally, Shanks contends that the scrolls are far less important for our understanding of Christianity and than for the glimpse they offer into Judaism between 250 B.C. and A.D. 70. Lively prose!
Kirkus Reviews
A first-rate distillation of many scholars’ work over the past five decades on the century’s most important, and in many ways most controversial, archaeological find. On the question of whether or not the scrolls belonged to the Qumran community or originated in the Temple in Jerusalem, he notes that, ultimately, “we are left with mere speculation. Anyone can play the game. The uncertainties will remain--until, perhaps, new evidence surfaces.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013689596
Publisher:
Biblical Archaeology Society
Publication date:
12/29/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
718,067
File size:
13 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Hershel Shanks is founder and editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, the most popular magazine in this niche field of study. Shanks in 1991 was the first to publish excerpts of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments, which had been secreted by a small group of scholars who controlled them. He has authored and edited numerous books including Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls and The Copper Scroll and the Search for the Temple Treasure.

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Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great introduction to these early documentas and the sect that produced at least some of them, as will as the history and intrigue of their eventual disclosure to the public. Reveals the diversity of Judaism in the Second Temple period and some of the correlaries with early Christianity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago