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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature) Paperback – March 3, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (March 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802846505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802846501
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Dead Sea Scrolls are (for the most part) a collection of Hebrew and Aramaic writings from the centuries of the early occupation of Israel by the Romans. This coincides with a great time of change and diversity in Judaism, which included at that time at least three main sects (one might even go so far as to say, denominations): Saduccees, Pharisees, and Essenes. It also had within itself the seeds of two others: rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, both of which largely (and ironically) came out of the same strand: the Pharisees.
Joseph Fitzmyer (a Jesuit) has put together an interesting study in what is a major topic of interest to many scholars -- just what is the relation of these scrolls to Christianity? Because none of the scrolls as yet can be said to contain New Testament writings (those few fragments that might are very obscure, very ambiguous, and exceedingly small -- consisting of few words).
'This volume collects twelve studies on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Joseph Fitzmyer, including a new, never-before-published essay of Qumran messianism. A pioneer in the field of Scrolls research and well known for his work in Aramaic studies and in the Semitic background of the New Testament, Fitzmyer here explores particularly how the Scrolls have shed light on the Qumran community itself, on the interpretation of significant biblical themes, and on the rise of early Christianity.'
Fitzmyer has been working on the Scrolls since 1955; many of the essays in this book date originally to the early part of his career, but have been revised and updated to reflect the latest discoveries and interpretations in scroll research.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Lee on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nobody pulls together in fine scholarly fashion what we know about the people who authored and collected the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship, such as it is, to nascent Christianity as does Fr. Fitzmyer, S.J.

I've been reading his stuff for years. Fitzmyer is scholarly, somewhat dry, and impeccably honest. His academic credentials are first-rate. He's one of the major contributors (in partnership with the legendary Scripture scholar Raymond E. Brown) to the New Jerusalem Biblical Commentary, as well as a number of critical commentaries in the Anchor Bible series (including the mighty tome on Paul's epistle to the Romans).

In this collections of essays published in 2000, some reworked in a salutary fashion to meet modern standards, Fr. Fitzmyer first sets up his methodology, explaining to the reader how he comes to his conclusions from the weath of data available. Some of the most interesting essays include "The Aramaic 'Son of God' Text from Qumran Cave 4" (in which he examines the title "Son of God" and its various flavors in this Semitic literature), the related article "The Background of 'Son of God' as a Title for Jesus" (in which Fitzmyer examines the Semitic - as opposed to Greek Septuagintal - context for "Son of God" in the New Testament in the light of the scrolls), and "Qumran Messianism" in which the often otherwise oversimplified messianic references are further explored and qualified. I also enjoyed the "Tobit" essays inasmuch as they demonstrate the value of what many Christians and Jews consider extra-canonical literature to the keepers of the scrolls.

In short, Fitzmyer shoots down both those who say the scrolls have nothing to do with Christianity, and those who say that figures like John the Baptist and Jesus himself show up in coded fashion in those same scrolls. Fr. Fitzmyer also paints a context in which the Jewishness of what we Christians call the New Testament plays a fundamental role.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Albert Wells on June 5, 2010
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I was expecting too much from the new chapter on Qumran and Messianism. Fitzmyer analyzes the various fragments pertaining to messiahs in a coldly academic atmosphere. He concludes, considering the changing singular and plural, past and future connotations the texts expose, that thought must have evolved within the community. But the relation with Christian origins does not come out.
What does Fitzmyer really think happened? The connection between the DSS and early Christianity will necessarily be Messiah-mediated. Does he have personal ideas or feelings while singing under the shower? Even the very stern Donald Redford finally indulged in a bit of subjectivism, a failure towards which he had always shown utmost distrust. And by doing so, presenting even excuses to the reader, he gave us the most eloquent and inspired refutation of Egyptian monotheism that admirers set in the hands of Akhenaton in El Amarna. What are Fitzmyer's deep convictions? Do the double messiah schemes represent community clans? The OT relates in many of its stories an opposition between the Jerusalem clergy and the Northern Highland clergy dedicated to the same Abraham inspired party. How did the Messianic community of Qumran express its internal dissents?
If an eminent scholar such as Fitzmyer only has question marks, we can seriously consider that the true relation between Scrolls and Gospels will finally come out, not from the academy, but from a layman as Ernest Renan predicted over a century ago.
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This book correlates the unique language of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the unique language of Christianity. It is widespead enough to convince any reader. There are other correlations as well, so you better read it if you are interested in the authentic Jesus. You might also want to read The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English: Seventh Edition (Penguin Classics) by Geza Vermes.
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