The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Hershel Shanks
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.