In this free eBook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Discovery and Meaning, you will learn about the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Discover what they tell us about the Bible, Christianity and Judaism. And new to this edition, we spotlight three of the most famous of the scrolls: the War Scroll, the Temple Scroll and the Book of Enoch. This feature focuses on the history and significance of each of these important scrolls.
Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review and a key figure in the liberation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1980s from a small group of scholars, guides you through the fascinating story of the discovery of these important artifacts. Pictures of the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with the Qumran caves where they were found, help bring this complex story to life.
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What is the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Why are they so important to our understanding of the Bible, Christianity and Judaism? Hershel Shanks shares the dramatic story of the discovery of the most intriguing Biblical archaeology find of the 20th century, the surprising tale of how they were acquired, and most important, how they illuminate our understanding of the codification of the Hebrew Bible. In addition, you’ll read how the scrolls further our understanding of life during Jesus’ time and the early rabbinic period of Judaism.
In Part I, Hershel Shanks describes the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls’ discovery. He guides us through the geography of the area, and explains how the scrolls were located near Qumran by Bedouin shepherds and later acquired by the Israeli government. (Some were even listed for sale in The Wall Street Journal!) Many beautiful full-color photographs help illustrate this fascinating tale.
Part II explores the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the development of Christianity. The scrolls help provide a context for the search for the historical Jesus by illuminating the times in which he lived. We also learn how the scrolls help us understand such concepts as “son of God” and “messiah.”
In Part III, Hershel Shanks reveals how the Dead Sea Scrolls help us understand the Hebrew Bible. Once the scrolls were discovered, they were found to be the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the books of the Hebrew Bible. Shanks explains how the scrolls compare to the Greek text of the Septuagint and help us better understand the text of the Old Testament.
Part IV discusses what the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about early Rabbinic Judaism. They are the principal Jewish religious literature from the period between the end of the Biblical period and the development of the Mishnah; they also emphasize the many varieties of early Judaism. Matters such as purity, the end of time and holy day observance are discussed in the scrolls.
Part V, new to this edition, puts the spotlight on three of the best-known scrolls found at Qumran: the War Scroll, the Temple Scroll and the Book of Enoch. Detailed photographs of these fascinating scrolls bring them right into your own hands!
By the time you finish reading this eBook, you will grasp the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls and why they are so important for understanding the earliest stages of both Judaism and Christianity.