A groundbreaking anthology that demolishes the myths — and reveals the true significance — of the greatest archaeological discovery of our time.
Ever since their initial discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have aroused excitement, jealousy, and not a little dread among some who feared their contents might undermine the foundations of Judaism and Christianity. For more than 35 years the majority of scroll texts remained the intellectual property of an exclusive coterie of scholars. In 1991, however, the Biblical Archaeology Review succeeded in breaking that monopoly.
This path-clearing volume is an illuminating assessment of what these texts reveal about a lost era in the history of two world religions, Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. Were the Dead Sea Scrolls written by the Essenes, an ascetic sect of Jews that may have included John the Baptist among its members? Is the Copper Scroll a secret map to the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple? In what way do these books prefigure the teachings of early Christianity? Additional chapters address the controversies surrounding the Scrolls' discovery and their long suppression — including the possible role of the Vatican and charges of anti-Semitism on the part of a former chief editor of the official scroll publication team.
This volume represents the first real look at the content of the Dead Sea Scrolls--for more than 35 years jealously guarded by a critically biased group of scholars--and offers an illuminating assessment of what the scrolls reveal about a lost era in Judaism and early Christianity.
Culled from the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review , edited by Shanks, these essays by scholars in the field shed further light on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in the Qumran caves east of Jerusalem in 1947. Eschewing the mainstream opinion that identifies the inhabitants of Qumran as members of a Jewish religious sect called the Essenes, Lawrence Schiffman radically links the sectarians with the priestly and scripturally literalistic Sadducees. The late Yigael Yadin describes his laborious efforts to acquire the crucial Temple Scroll, the difficult task of unrolling it and his belief that Jesus was anti-Essene even though the Essenes' rejection of the Jerusalem Temple and its cult influenced the early Christians. Hartmut Stegemann claims that the Temple Scroll is a lost sixth book of the Torah composed of material rejected when the Pentateuch was canonized under the influence of Ezra in the fifth century B.C. In a 1990 interview with an Israeli journalist, John Strugnell expresses anti-Semitic views; he was subsequently removed from his position as chief Scrolls editor. Illustrations not seen by PW.