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The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible Paperback – January 31, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; First Edition edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802866794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802866790
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


William Adler
-- North Carolina State University
"Written by one of the world's foremost authorities on Second Temple Judaism, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible represents the culmination of a lifetime of devoted study of one of the most important archaeological and documentary finds of the modern age. In this single volume VanderKam explains the contribution of the Scrolls to critical issues in the study of Jewish and Christian scriptures: the authority of biblical and para-biblical books, scriptural interpretation and commentary, messianic hopes, and group controversies during the time of Jesus. Lucid and lively writing, careful textual analysis, and original insights combine to make this book a real pleasure to read."

James H. Charlesworth
-- Princeton Theological Seminary
"With typical succinctness and insight, Jim VanderKam presents a reliable introduction to the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for a better understanding of the Bible."

John J. Collins
-- Yale University
"VanderKam surveys not only the evidence of the Scrolls for the text and canon of the Hebrew Bible but also their relevance for understanding the New Testament. As usual, he is clear, thorough, and reliable. This will be a standard reference work for all students of the Bible."

Matthias Henze
-- Rice University
"With characteristic ease, erudition, and authority, James VanderKam expertly guides readers through the diffcult terrain of textual criticism and Scrolls controversies. In the end, the reader emerges with a clear and unbiased understanding of the true significance of the Scrolls for the field of biblical studies."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Goranson on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent, clearly-written, and reliable introductory guide to what the Dead Sea Scrolls add to our knowledge of the history of the Bible. I especially like the discussion of the Essenes, the ancient group that wrote some of the scrolls. VanderKam discussed the etymology of the name Essene (pages 100-104) and (rightly, I think) supported the origin that is confirmed in the self-designation in the scrolls, 'osey hatorah, "the doers of Torah." Of course the Pharisees and Sadducees would not grant them that name.
A few very minor points. On the page 100 mention of 4Q213a reading claiming an Eastern Aramaic adjective meaning "holy," that reading may have been made from an enhanced photo, and R. Kugler (and É. P.?) examined the original fragment and concluded that a fold in the skin produced a misreading. On pages 103-4 William Brownlee is quoted correctly mentioning that there were ancient spellings of the group name starting with O as well as with E, but Brownlee mistakenly referred to the writing of Hippolytus rather than to Epiphanius. On page 100 VanderKam wrote, quite correctly, that this etymology "has a long pedigree" including, for example, Philipp Melanchthon. Azariah de Rossi was an important participant in early discussions, one of the first writers to compare extensively and critically rabbinic literature with Josephus and Philo, but took a different view.
More than 60 different proposals have been published, ranging from guesses in Akkadian to Persian Avestan. One self-identification found in the scrolls was proposed in 1532 and in each following century before the Qumran discoveries.
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