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The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English: Complete Edition [Kindle Edition]

Geza Vermes
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Judaean desert between 1947 and 1956 transformed our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism and the origins of Christianity. These extraordinary manuscripts appear to have been hidden in the caves at Quumran by members of the Essene community, a Jewish sect in existence before and during the time of Jesus. Some sixty years after the Scrolls' first discovery, this revised and much expanded edition of The Dead Sea Scrolls in English crowns a lifetime of research by the great Qumran scholar Geza Vermes.

As well as superb translations of all non-biblical texts sufficiently well preserved to be rendered into English, there are also a number of previously unpublished texts, and a new preface.

Since its first publication in 1962, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English has established itself as the standard English translation of the non-Biblical Qumran Scrolls and as giving an astonishing insight to the organization, customs, history and beliefs of the community responsible for them. This edition will contain new material, together with extensive new introductory material and notes.

Editorial Reviews Review

It's been 50 years since a Bedouin youth named Muhammed edh-Dhub went looking for a stray sheep and instead found the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the intervening decades, the scrolls have been enveloped in a storm of controversy and bitter conflict: the scholars entrusted with translating and editing the texts sat on many of them instead, creating suspicions that escalated to conspiracy theories about supposed cover-ups of sensitive, even damaging material. Geza Vermes, a former professor of Jewish studies at Oxford and a noted authority on the scrolls, marks the 50th anniversary of Muhammed edh-Dhub's find with his book The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English; the title, however, is misleading, for the collection of documents is by no means complete.

Vermes has left out the copies of Hebrew scriptures that are available elsewhere, instead focusing on the sectarian writings of the Essene community at Qumran and the intertestemental texts, and these are indeed complete translations. Vermes has also included an overview of five decades of research on the scrolls and a thumbnail sketch of the Qumran community's history and religion. For anyone interested in biblical history, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English is a worthwhile read.

From Library Journal

This one-volume translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls joins those of Florentino Garcia Martinez (The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, Eerdman's, 1996) and Michael Wise and others (The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, LJ 12/96) and is the latest edition of The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, first published in 1962. In a 90-page introduction, Vermes (emeritus, Jewish studies, Wolfson Coll., Oxford) briefly summarizes the 50-year history of scrolls research. He presents an overview of the sectarian community associated with the scrolls (whom he identifies as the Essenes), its history, and its beliefs. Though dubbed "complete" (the preface explains that "meaningless scraps or badly damaged manuscript sections are not inflicted on the reader"), Vermes's translation is generally the most selective of the three. This sometimes saves the reader from the possible frustration of line upon line of brackets and ellipses, but it gives a limited idea of the extent of the textual material available. However, the translation is good and has stood as the standard for many years. As with Bibles, libraries should have more than one version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.?Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
352 of 360 people found the following review helpful
Geza Vermes provides a concise introduction to the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls and provides English translations of many of the scrolls and fragments found in the 11 caves of Qumran. This book was originally published in 1965 and was last updated in 1997. Much has happened in those 32 years and this book contains updates on the key items.
In the first 96 pages of the book, Vermes provides an insight into what the Scrolls are, who the authors were, a history of the community that wrote the scrolls, and the religious ideas of the community. 500 pages of translations and brief discussions of each scroll and fragment follow. The discussions are particularly helpful as introductions to the themes and background related to each scroll. About 40 pages at the end of the book present a catalogue of the scrolls, an index of the texts, and a bibliography. The indexes in the book provide references by topic and by the classification number of the text or fragment (e.g. 4Q525 is text number 525 from Qumran Cave 4).
Among the many key manuscripts translated in this book are the Community Rule, the Damascus Document, the Messianic Rule, the War Scroll, the Thanksgiving Hymns, the Apocryphal Psalms, the calendrical documents, the Blessings and Benedictions, the Peshers (commentaries) on numerous books of the Old Testament, Biblical Apocryphal Works, and the Copper Scroll (the Copper Scroll is a description of the locations of hidden treasures).
The book is quite complete, but new discoveries and revisions to existing hypotheses will always make future revisions a necessity. I have used this book to teach a 4-week mini-course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at my Church with much success. I highly recommend this book. The topic is fascinating and this book is a must for anyone serious about learning what is in the Dead Sea Scrolls and what life was like from 150 B.C to 70 A.D.
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193 of 197 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the first time in 2000 years... June 15, 2003
Geza Vermes' book, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, is a worthy capstone to a long and distinguished scroll career. Vermes entire career, from his student days to this present work, has been concentrated largely on the Dead Sea Scrolls and related topics. His doctorate in 1953 was completed with a dissertation on the historical framework of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is difficult to find any scholar with as complete a knowledge of the scrolls as has Vermes; it is impossible to find one who knows them better.
This book was released in 1997, 50 years from the time the first Arab shepherd climbed into a cave in search of a wandering animal and instead fell upon the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Following the 'revolution' of 1991 (to use Vermes words), everyone interested could have unfettered access to the Scrolls, and yet, as inaccessible as they had been previously due to physical restriction, they remained just as inaccessible due to the problem of language and translation.
'In addition to the English rendering of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts found in the eleven Qumran caves, two inscribed potsherds (ostraca) retrieved from the Qumran site and two Qumran-type documents discovered in the fortress of Masada, and brief introductory notes to each text, this volume also provides an up-to-date general introduction, outlining the history of fifty years of Scroll research and sketching the organisation, history and religious message of the Qumran Community.'
This is the latest volume of a series: when Vermes first published an edition in 1962 (then 15 years after the discovery of the first scrolls), the book had 262 pages; the current edition has 648.
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Vermes has again, in this updated version of the DSS in English, held fast to the clear-eyed scholarship that has been the hallmark of his work. Of course, the individual reader must ultimately decide for himself how objective Vermes is in his presentation. For example, I view with skepticism Vermes's assertion that the original language of 1 Enoch is, without doubt, Aramaic. Frankly, there is compelling evidence that the original story or stories that became Enoch were originally written in Ethiopic, or were tales that traveled from East to West via the Phoenicians. Other plausible theories abound.
Nonetheless, there are many gems here, and, in my opinion, this book contains one the most honest and pure translations of 1 Enoch (along with the fragments from the Book of Giants), complementing the tremendous service done to Enoch by James Charlesworth in "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (Old Testament Pseudepigraphia, Vol 1)."
When I was doing postgraduate work in theology and biblical history, I always wished for a book like this (i.e., Vermes' DSS as updated in 1997). This work is, in my opinion, ideal for those who wish to study alone, and even for use in organized church study groups. There's plenty of "light" here, and Vermes indicates and suggests where the reader might look without insisting.
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120 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word of caution about objections to this fine work December 9, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is no better translation available to English language readers than this volume by Vermes. The objections registered by some ill-informed conspiracy-theorists concerning Vermes are themselves based on no real evidence. Vermes has an opinion, a very well-informed scholarly opinion, formed from years of study--honest study. He is not a flaming seeker of fortune and fame as are many people who try to make much more out of what is in the DSS than anyone can possible know. As one trained as a scholar in this area of study, I offer two observations: First, my own word of caution: Beware of DSS conspiracy theories and wild claims made from esoteric so-called readings of the texts. Second, my advice: Read the Scrolls in this fine translation for yourself and ask whether Vermes's ideas are reasonable or whether the wild allegorical re-readings offered by certain flamboyant interpreters have any real merit.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Supreme service and excellent reading!
Published 7 days ago by Debra Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lots here to digest. Read slowly.
Published 1 month ago by David R. Taylor Sr.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English
I am still digesting the words in this book. It is an awaking to the reality of the awesome Creator and that HE is not playing, but demands repentance for restauration and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by calledoutwithwords
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good
Published 2 months ago by Thomas Tozser
4.0 out of 5 stars Remembering that these are not canonical, these writings of ...
Remembering that these are not canonical, these writings of one of the several popular movements in the usually ignored intertestamental Judaism, in which the Incarnational... Read more
Published 5 months ago by j hinchey
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't speak Greek???
Fantastic translation of the scrolls. If you don't understand or read Greek or Aramaic, this is the book for you!
Published 6 months ago by bigal
5.0 out of 5 stars A Version I Can Read...
Now I can read what the scrolls say thus far.. Thanks for the translation...
Published 6 months ago by 9C-Z OF NC
2.0 out of 5 stars not complete at all, translations are "what I want ...
not complete at all, translations are "what I want it to be" not what it says. worthless opinions mixed with his idea of history that has to be checked with something else... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ron Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Its a must read for everyone!
Published 7 months ago by maria c.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice easy read.. quick delivery
Published 7 months ago by trusmisel
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