The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, are one of the great archaeological finds. They include a treasure trove of unique texts created by the Essene community of Qumran which had formed in the desert to restore Judaism to true biblical faith. They also include the earliest manuscripts of every book in the Hebrew Bible, except for Esther. The writings of this community are vital to understanding the world of Judaism that led soon thereafter to rabbinic Judaism on the one hand and Christianity on the other.
The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls is the definitive introduction to the scrolls, their teachings, the community that created them, and their significance for understanding the Hebrew Bible and the world from which Christianity emerged. The book presents a readable, comprehensive and up-to-date reference for students, clergy, and general readers by two of the leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls provides an essential companion to the complete translations of the biblical and non-biblical scrolls found in the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation.
“The line ‘When [God] has fa[th]ered(?) the Messiah (or, when the Messiah has been revealed) among them’ (2.11–12) has sparked interest. As one can see from the punctuation and alternative translation, the text is very uncertain, but the preferred reading is ‘when the Messiah has been revealed among them.’” (Page 219)
“Nebe, Puech, and Muro suggests that 7Q4.1, 7Q8, 7Q12, and 7Q14 contain text from 1 Enoch 103:3–8, 12; 7Q4.2 contains text from 98:11 or 105:1; 7Q11 contains text from 100:12; and 7Q13 contains text from 103:15.” (Page 319)
“An official excavation of the cave was conducted September 22–29, 1952, and fragments from many more manuscripts were recovered.” (Page 17)
“First is a scripturally based admonition in which a teacher urges the sons of light to separate from the wicked” (Page 215)
“ Lipa Sukenik (1889–1953), professor of archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.” (Page 6)
The biblical evidence has been presented in much greater detail than in other introductions, and many novel insights have also been provided. This updated introduction is a very useful and informative tool for Qumran research.
—Emanuel Tov, from the Foreword
The latest book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, by leading-edge scholars James VanderKam and Peter Flint is not only the latest but may well be the best book on the vitally stimulating subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which continues to attract and fascinate readers. The authors deliver fully on their ambitious title in particular for newcomers and amateurs, but there is solid analysis and resolution for serious scholars too. This work provides a cap and climax to more than fifty years of research and publication of the Scrolls.
—David Noel Freedman, Editor-in-Chief of the Anchor Yale Bible and Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
This is the book that has long been needed by the bright and the curious to learn the true story of the Dead Sea Scrolls, from their discovery through to the latest controversies and debates about them. While scholars will want to debate some of the judgments made by the authors, this is the book, now that publication of all the Scrolls is complete, which will be the most helpful to the most readers.
—James A. Sanders, President of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center
James VanderKam is John A. O’Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame. He is also author of The Dead Sea Scrolls Today.
Peter Flint is co-director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University in British Columbia and coeditor of The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible.