Dr. Norman Golb's classic study on the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls is now available online.
Since their earliest discovery in 1947, the Scrolls have been the object of fascination and extreme controversy.
Challenging traditional dogma, Golb has been the leading proponent of the view that the Scrolls cannot be the work of a small, desert-dwelling fringe sect, as various earlier scholars had claimed, but are in all likelihood the remains of libraries of various Jewish groups, smuggled out of Jerusalem and hidden in desert caves during the Roman siege of 70 A. D.
Contributing to the enduring debate sparked by the book's original publication in 1995, this digital edition contains additional material reporting on new developments that have led a series of major Israeli and European archaeologists to support Golb's basic conclusions.
In its second half, the book offers a detailed analysis of the workings of the scholarly monopoly that controlled the Scrolls for many years, and discusses Golb's role in the struggle to make the texts available to the public. Pleading for an end to academic politics and a commitment to the search for truth in scrolls scholarship, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? sets a new standard for studies in intertestamental history
"This book is 'must reading'.... It demonstrates how a particular interpretation of an ancient site and particular readings of ancient documents became a straitjacket for subsequent discussion of what is arguably the most widely publicized set of discoveries in the history of biblical archaeology...." Dr. Gregory T. Armstrong, 'Church History'
Golb "gives us much more than just a fresh and convincing interpretation of the origin and significance of the Qumran Scrolls. His book is also... a fascinating case-study of how an id' fixe, for which there is no real historical justification, has for over 40 years dominated an elite coterie of scholars controlling the Scrolls...." Daniel O'Hara, 'New Humanist'
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.