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The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls [Kindle Edition]

Geza Vermes
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran, Palestine, in 1947 was one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and hidden in caves by an ancient Jewish sect, these mysterious manuscripts revolutionized our understanding of the Bible, of Judaism and the early Christian world.

Geza Vermes is the world's leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, whose English translations brought these extraordinary documents to thousands, and whose life has been inextricably interwoven with the scrolls for over sixty years. In this illuminating book he relates the controversial story of their discovery and publication around the world, revealing cover-ups, blunders and academic in-fighting, but also the passion and dedication of many of those involved. He shares what he has learned about the scrolls and, evaluating passages from them, gives his views on their true significance and what they can teach us, as well as those areas where scholarly consensus has not yet been reached.

Few scholars have been as closely associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls as Vermes. Writing with candour and unique authority, he has created an ideal introduction to understanding these miraculous documents.

Editorial Reviews


Vermes has the rare gift of wearing his immense scholarship lightly -- David Goldberg Independent

About the Author

Geza Vermes's books include The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English and The Changing Faces of Jesus as well as the 'Jesus' trilogy: Nativity, Passion and Resurrection. He is Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3292 KB
  • Print Length: 267 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141046155
  • Publisher: Penguin (February 4, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00390BDZ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,524 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Academic Scandal of the Century May 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Geza Vermes published his first article on the Dead Sea Scrolls in a Parisian periodical in 1949. The news of a sensational manuscript discovery in the Palestine of the British Mandate had first broken the year before, and the public was already thrilled by the new light these texts could shed on ancient Judaism, Bible studies, and the life of Jesus. But the eager public was to be kept for decades from accessing the documents: even now, more than half a century later, many questions surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls remain open, and what has been called "the greatest ever manuscript find in the field of biblical studies" has not yielded all its secrets. The Dead Sea Scrolls continue to be a matter of controversy and media attention. In a time when religion no longer inspires passion in our de-christened societies, they have become the stuff of legend and fiction, and they fuel the modern thirst for conspiracy theories and pseudo-scientific speculations. This book substitutes facts for fiction, history for legend, and scholarship for superstition. It is the Story of the Scrolls by a person who, as he tells jokingly, has practically written them. Indeed, nobody other than Geza Vermes has done more to make their content accessible to the general public and to explore their true significance in a dispassionate and scholarly fashion.

In 1949, by the time the young Vermes swore he would devote himself to solving the mystery of the manuscripts, he already had led a tumultuous life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read for the layman September 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was written in a light, 'chatty' tone which belies the scholarly title and subject matter. The author was intimately involved in working on publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls almost from the time of their discovery. While I would personally have liked this to be a bit more scholarly, I still found it a very good overview of the trials and tribulations of trying to get the Scrolls translated and published.

The author basically divides this book into 4 sections - a brief background history; a disucssion of the Scrolls and the culture in which they originated; a discussion of how the Scrolls have advanced scholarship in all types of Biblical (and related) studies; and a brief conclusion/summing-up.

Recommended. As I said above, this was a little 'lighter' than I was hoping for, but it would still be an excellent introduction for someone who is interested in the subject, but not quite ready for more in-depth information.

Note on Kindle formatting: Very good. There were occasional examples of unnecessary hyphenation, but other than that, formatting was well done. Note that like many NF books, the actual 'story' ends at about 75% with the remainder being notes and bibliography.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read May 17, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gave extremely extensive information while being very accessible. It was written in a conversational and personal style but the facts were there. I found that it confirmed much of the information I already had from some of the major participants I had met in person (Marty Abegg and Peter Flint) at a conference and showing of the Scrolls in Seattle in 2006, as well as the information I had researched elsewhere. If you want to know about the Scrolls, I recommend coming to this book first.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Popular Introduction to the DSS November 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is a lot of what I call "media hype" about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Reporters love to report a sensational "discovery," like finding Jesus or James in the scrolls, or even as one tabloid headlined: "Elvis Found in the Dead Sea Scrolls." I have dozens of books on the Scrolls, including translations into English of all of them. My advice to laymen is not to buy and read one of those translations. You will be disappointed, because most of the non-Biblical scrolls are quite tedious and boring, even to the interested Christian reader.

I just finished the book on the DSS that I will recommend without reservation as the best semi-popular introduction. It is titled The Story of the Scrolls, by Oxford scholar, Geza Vermes. You will have every one of your questions about the scrolls answered in a sensible and informed way. It is good to read someone, now over 80 years of age, who has been with the DSS almost since day one of their discovery in 1947. As a young scholar, Vermes was right there in Jerusalem in 1952, when the first scrolls from Cave One were released and excavations had just begun at Qumran. He conveys an insider's account with many personal encounters and observations - and he writes with clarity. He has written a half dozen other books on the scrolls and Qumran, including a complete translation of all the scrolls into English. There is no one in the world more qualified to tell us about the Dead Sea Scrolls than Geza Vermes.

Every person ought to read at least one book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, even if only to counter the sensationalists mentioned above.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars They remain mysterious
The authors credentials would seem to be excellent for the project he persued over his lifetime. For a person like myself who was interested in the discovery itself and what... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Leonard
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiographical account of the greatest discovery in biblical...
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls opened a new chapter in the study of the Old and New Testaments. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Marius Gabriel
5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable
Written by a scholar who has followed this discovery from the beginning in 1947.
A great scholar who has given us the English Translation. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kathryn Hoyt
3.0 out of 5 stars Panic
Vermes gives a reasonably convincing detail of the timeline of the deciphering of the scrolls however some may detect the voice of someone trying to exonerate themselves from any... Read more
Published 18 months ago by RR
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it
This book, written by a very qualified man, is a sweet, historical record of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, and their significance with regard to Judaism and Christianity.
Published on April 29, 2013 by Josué Manriquez
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more.
For such an important subject matter, I had to plow through it, hoping something would capture my interest. Very dry.
Published on January 23, 2013 by Cathie Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting.
Gives a very good account of the history of the scrolls and their fate since their discovery. There may be a bit too much depth for the casual reader.
Published on January 18, 2013 by gerard egan
3.0 out of 5 stars Rambling
The text rambles a bit. I wanted to understand how these scrolls were discovered and the content. This book descibes the inter workings of the academic world. Read more
Published on January 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Product. Good Service.
Delivered on time as promised. Interesting read that enlightens about scrolls, which is a form of the book that is making a comeback on electronic tablets.
Published on December 26, 2012 by Andrew J. Waskey
5.0 out of 5 stars Whose texts are these, anyway?
It gives the reader information about the origins of the basic old testament texts, and how they evolved through varying cultures and translations and omissions into the texts... Read more
Published on December 23, 2012 by SueH
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