Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls?: The Search For The Secret Of Qumran

Overview

Since their discovery in the Qumran caves beginning in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the object of intense fascination and extreme controversy. Here Professor Norman Golb intensifies the debate over the scrolls' origins, arguing that they were not the work of a small, desert-dwelling fringe sect, as other scholars have claimed, but written by different groups of Jews and the smuggled out of Jerusalem's libraries before the Roman seige of A.D 70.

Golb also unravels the ...

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Overview

Since their discovery in the Qumran caves beginning in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the object of intense fascination and extreme controversy. Here Professor Norman Golb intensifies the debate over the scrolls' origins, arguing that they were not the work of a small, desert-dwelling fringe sect, as other scholars have claimed, but written by different groups of Jews and the smuggled out of Jerusalem's libraries before the Roman seige of A.D 70.

Golb also unravels the mystery behind the scholarly monopoly that controlled the scrolls for many years, and discusses his role as a key player in the successful struggle to make the scrolls widely available to both scholars and students. And he pleads passionately for an academic politics and a renewed commitment to the search for the truth in scroll scholarship.

After having researched the Dead Sea Scrolls for more than 30 years, Dr. Golb contends that they were not, as has been traditionally assumed, written by the Essenes or by any one sect, but were instead the work of various Jews who smuggled them out of Jerusalem's libraries in 70 A.D., before Romans attacked the city. 10 photos; 5 maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves in the village of Qumran, now on Jordan's West Bank, have been linked to the Essenes, an ancient Jewish pacifist, communal sect, and some scholars have suggested that Jesus may have been an Essene. Golb, professor of Jewish history and civilization at the University of Chicago, disputes the conventional wisdom in an engrossing, closely argued study. In his rival theory, Palestinian Jews, fearful of the impending Roman siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, took or copied manuscripts from Jerusalem's libraries, smuggled them out of the city and hid them at Qumran, Massada and other sites. Moreover, the presumed Essene monastery of Qumran was actually a Jewish rebel fortress, argues Golb, who marshalls archeological, historical and textual evidence, including his own fieldwork at Qumran and his work on the scrolls. He believes the scrolls and related fragmentary manuscripts embody a wide spectrum of doctrines, genres and themes, from a Hebrew hymn by a Jewish nationalist poet to an apocalyptic brotherhood initiation to an inventory of documents stashed away in the Judaean wilderness. Photos. BOMC, QPB, History Book Club, Newbridge Natural Science Book Club and Reader's Subscription alternates; author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Contrary to scholarly consensus, Golb contends that, rather than being the product of sectarian scribes, the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of individuals from many diverse groups and that they were deposited in the caves near the Dead Sea (among other locations) by Jews fleeing the Roman army during the First Revolt (c. 70 c.e.). He also claims that the Qumran complex served not as an Essene monastery but as a fortress for Jews involved in the revolt. This is primarily a scholarly work (though it is not beyond the grasp of nonspecialists). Golb marshalls historical, archaeological, and paleographical evidence to support his arguments. Unfortunately, he also lets readers in on his personal efforts to question and oppose the scholarly status quo, leaving the impression of being self-serving. Because of growing public interest in the scrolls and dissatisfaction with traditional theories about them, this work should be in both public and academic collections.-Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Birmingham
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684806921
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 6/20/1996
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 1.07 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
1 The Qumran Plateau 3
2 The Manuscripts of the Jews 43
3 1947: The First Scroll Discoveries 65
4 The Qumran-Essene Theory: A Paradigm Reconsidered 95
5 The Copper Scroll, the Masada Manuscripts, and the Siege of Jerusalem 117
6 Scroll Origins: Rengstorf's Theory and Edmund Wilson's Response 151
7 The Temple Scroll, the Acts of Torah, and the Qumranologists' Dilemma 175
8 Power Politics and the Collapse of the Scrolls Monopoly 217
9 Myth and Science in the World of Qumranology 249
10 The Deepening Scrolls Controversy 273
11 The New York Conference and Some Academic Intrigues 305
12 The Importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls 327
Epilogue: Judaism, Christianity, and the Scrolls 361
Afterword 387
Glossary 401
Endnotes 409
Selected Bibliography 437
Index 447
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    Mr. Golb's insightful textual analysis coupled with his rational assessment of the available historical and archeological evidence is compelling and, I believe, difficult to argue. It has significantly changed the way I analyze the work of other biblical and textual scholars' work on 1st Century Judao-Christian materials.

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