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The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature) Hardcover – August, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature
  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802845894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802845894
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An admirably clear and concise progress report on what is known about this spectacular discovery."

About the Author

Jodi Magness, associate professor of classical & Near Eastern archaeology at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., has participated in twenty excavations in Israel and Greece

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Customer Reviews

Maps and illustrations add to the value of the introduction and the chapters which follow.
Christian Observer
The book The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls is a welcome addition to the ranks of basic introductory texts on the topic.
FrKurt Messick
Associated, that is, by archaeology, as well as by proximity and by the content of the scrolls and external sources.
Stephen Goranson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The archaeology and scriptural/textual studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls have held the public imagination for much of the past half-century. Since the first Scrolls were discovered not far from the ancient site of Qumran in the late 1940s, there has been an air of mystery and intrigue around them unlike almost any other archaeological find. This is largely because of the association with the text of the Bible and the undeniable impact it has had on modern culture. The book The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls is a welcome addition to the ranks of basic introductory texts on the topic.
The author, Jodi Magness, is on the faculty of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her professional interests centre largely on early Judaism, and include such topics as ancient pottery, ancient synagogue architecture and construction, the role of the Roman Army in the Eastern Empire, and, of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumrani settlement. An experienced field archaeologist, she has participated in twenty different excavations in the Middle East and Greece, including work at Masada, the great fortress in the south of Israel that was a `last stand' spot during the Jewish revolt against the Romans.
An Introduction to the Archaeology of Qumran
In her first chapter, Magness looks at the basics of Qumran. Not a tourist hot-spot until fairly recently, for much of its excavation history it has been a desolate and remote location. One problem Magness highlights is that the primary person associated with archaeological excavation of Qumran, Roland de Vaux, who was also part of the controversial scroll research and translation team, never published a final report on his archaeological studies.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christian Observer on April 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this well-written study Jodi Magness helps us see how people lived at Qumran and why they did things as they did. Unlike many scholars, Jodi Magness is persoanl in her reporting and evaluating. She speaks from experience as a working archaeologist. The Intoduction the Archaeology of Qumran is a fascinating overview of the field. Maps and illustrations add to the value of the introduction and the chapters which follow. Each of the ten chapters has an extensive bibliography to encourage in-depth study. Reading this book will not only add depth to Bible study but it will challenge the reader to see and appreciate more the world around him. What do the items found in our own backyards tell about people who lived where we do? Jodi Magness teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has participated in 20 different excavations in Israel and Greece.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Goranson on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Magness, an archaeologist with extensive relevant experience, provides in this book a fine treatment of the archaeology of Qumran, the site associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Associated, that is, by archaeology, as well as by proximity and by the content of the scrolls and external sources. This is now the best interpretation of the evidence--and she directly engages the material realia--currently in print, to my knowledge. Of course, as she acknowledges, this will not be the last word on the subject, as some excavated evidence has not yet been published. But enough is known of the material culture to explore many aspects of the site and its usage and chronology.
She analyses many of the previous proposals and shows several of them to be not credible. While I don't agree on every detail (e.g., the "toilet" might be listed with a question mark, as previously, pending further data) and while I could add--as could she!--more observations (e.g. for me, that Pliny's source on Essenes wrote circa 15 BCE; that the etymology of "Essenes" from Hebrew self-designations in the DSS, 'osey hatorah, observers of torah is increasingly recognized [she notes the option]), it's a pleasure to read this book. It is clearly written and well-informed (bibliographies are provided), unlike, for instance, the approach that denies Essenes while denying denying Essenes (as too hard to know, so bracket them out, yet use Josephus for all other subjects, including those harder to know), or the approach that alternates from saying goodbye to Essenes and then that Essenes cannot be located (how then are they to be excluded?--can't have it both ways).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Earl Arnett on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Amid all the scholarly debates, academic rivalries and imaginative theorists, the general reader needs an objective, factual, readable account of the ruins at Qumran and what they tell us about the people who lived there. This book fulfills this need.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KATMAN on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Most work on Qumran & the Dead Sea Scrolls is of a theological nature. This is the finest work I have found from an archaeological perspective. It is technical enough for the professionals and interesting for the lay people. It was a fitting prelude to visiting the actual exhibit.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Feather on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Aimed, it seems, rather more at the academic scholar, the book offers some useful insights into the archaeology of Qumran and its associated sites - evidenced by the academic level of the above reviews. For the lay person, however, it will prove rather hard going.

Magness is a consensus supporter, but it is refreshing to read some subjects looked at from a feminine viewpoint; a direction most consensus and other male commentators rarely bother to address. She thus considers the role of women in the 'Essene' set up, in terms of dress, burial, adornments, artefacts, and ritual participation, more acutely than others.

In supporting the main contentions of Roland de Vaux and the Ecole team, she follows the main line, that Qumran was a sectarian settlement and the occupants wrote and possessed what are referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the light of the evidence, which she sets out rather well, and the conclusions of other high-powered scholars like George Brooke, Geza Vermes, Rohrhirsch, Schiffman, Lim etc it is perplexing that some other, quite respected scholars, still persist in postulating weired theories about the purpose of the Qumran Community. A test of their credibility in this respect is that they are invariably lone voices, with few supporters, touting theories that conflict with all the other lone voices as well as the mainstream. Their voices tend to become increasingly strident and ears increasingly muffled as they become more isolated. Magness has little time for these alternative theories, and shows it somewhat abrasively.

If there are weaknesses in her presentation they relate to her historical analyses. As she rightly points out herself archaeologists look at materials and historians look at texts.
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