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The Dead Sea Scrolls Today Paperback – May 16, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the fertile imaginations of some writers, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the seed for imaginative (if not sound) speculation, resulting in such recent books as Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh's The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (LJ 1/92) and Barbara Thiering's Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls (HarperSanFrancisco, 1992). In the wake of these books, VanderKam's sane appraisal of the Scrolls' saga and of current Scrolls scholarship, written on a level that is understandable to lay readers and others who are not specialists in the field, is especially welcome. In a balanced fashion, Bible scholar VanderKam addresses the major issues regarding the Scrolls: the circumstances surrounding their discovery and subsequent publication (and nonpublication); the identity of the Qumran group responsible for writing and collecting the documents; and the impact of the Scrolls upon traditional theories and beliefs. Recommended for seminary, academic, and public libraries.
Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Birmingham
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 1st edition (May 16, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802807364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802807366
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you have read articles and heard references, and would like to know more about the Dead Sea Scrolls; if you are interested in the development of the Hebrew Scriptures, and would like more background; if you are interested in life in Israel around the time of Christ; if these or other similar questions apply to your interests, this is a book for you.
James VanderKam, professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Notre Dame (Indiana, not Paris), and member of the official international team charged with preservation, reconstruction and translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has put together a one-volume introduction and exposition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is an accessible volume that presupposes no particular background of study in language, hermeneutics, biblical development, or archaeology. Yet, it does not 'talk down' to the audience either, and even the most advanced scholar will find in this volume an excellent encapsulation of the subject.
VanderKam begins his survey with a brief history of the discoveries. This includes a discussion of the caves, geographically and geologically. Then he addresses the ruins of Qumran, which has two components--a building complex, and a cemetery: cemeteries are archaeological treasure-troves, but problematic when dealing with religious sensibilities about disturbing gravesites. Also he talks about methods of dating scrolls and ruins (methods from carbon-14 dating, a process discovered providentially the same year as the first cave with scrolls; paleographic methods, coin and pottery analysis, etc.). Finally, the first section concludes with some various theories about the Qumran location--is it a monastery with a scriptorium, a villa with a large dining hall, a tradepost, or a rebel fortress?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
VanderKam's work is a pleasure to read. He covers a great deal of ground in his short 210 page book. Because it was targeted for a wide audience it is concise, clear, and avoids the minutiae that often bog down scholarly texts. As a member of the international team of scholars translating the scrolls, VanderKam has first hand information and an insider's insight into the scrolls and the debates raging around them. Although he book is used as a college text, it could just as easily be used for Bible studies and history buffs.
The topics include the discovery of the scrolls, the content of the scrolls, theories on the scrolls' authorship and history, the impact of the scrolls on biblical texts and finally the controversies surrounding the scrolls. Each section is brief but thorough. Perhaps the book's most helpful feature is guiding the reader through the vast spectrum of scroll scholarship, pointing out which theories are most widely held and which are on the lunatic fringe.
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By John Azhakattil on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First I appreciated the effort of Mr.JamesC.Venderkam to open the door realizing the hidden truth. For me it is very useful and even valuable to study more about the unknown facts. I recommand everyone should read this wonderful book. May God bless us all.

Hats off to Amazon Management for such fabulous publications. Continue, and expecting the vary latest discoveries.
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22 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
Prof VanderKam does an excellent job in summarising the "objective" side of the scrolls. That is, the book is a good source of information on the archeological aspects of the documents; it is very well organised. However, the author is extremely superficial when dealing with the controversy sorrounding its meaning and interpretation.
As the book was published in the UK by the "Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge", the author is quick to discredit any theories proposed by other schollars that may challenge the views of the lack of relationship between the established beliefs of the Christian church and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
It is rather unfortunate that a well-known researcher on the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls looses his objective thus not being prepared to advance any theories that may upset the establishment.
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