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The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English Paperback – October 22, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English is the first full English translation of the Hebrew scriptures used by the Essene sect at Qumran. (The Essenes, along with the Pharisees and Saducees, were among the three most influential Jewish groups of their time [150 B.C. to 68 A.D.]). Between 1947 and 1956, in 11 caves overlooking the Dead Sea, more than 800 manuscripts of two types were found. The first are called "biblical"--because they contain material that was later canonized in the Hebrew Bible; the second are called "non-Biblical"--because they contain poetry, rules for holy living, and imaginative, midrashic interpretations that are unique to the community that produced them.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible comprises the biblical manuscripts, including many new Psalms, Apocryphal books, and previously unknown readings of Deuteronomy and Isaiah (which appear to have been among the most important books of the Bible to this group of Essenes). The translation of each book is preceded by an introduction that describes the text's importance to the Essenes, their distinctive interpretations of the text, and suggestions of how historical and political events may have shaped these interpretations. Translators Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich have loaded this volume with scholarly notes and commentary, but their interpretations are formatted in a way that does not impede the general reader's enjoyment of the book. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible breathes new life into scripture by delving into the earliest source material yet discovered. It is a crucial work to reckon with for anyone interested in Jewish life around the time of Jesus. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“All those who want to know what the Bible really says will want this book. They will sing, ‘Hallelujah!’” (Southwestern Journal of Theology)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060600640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060600648
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In most books on the Dead Sea Scrolls (like the classic The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Penguin Classics)), one has to wade through much cultic discussion to find the materials related to the Bible. This book, in contrast, collects the Bible information from the Dead Sea Scrolls in an extremely useful format for the Bible study or Torah study student. Differences with the conventional Masoretic text are displayed in italic. The reader can then easily find the changes in the Bible text from the Dead Sea Scrolls version and learn how the Bible has grown. This is a great reference book.
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Format: Hardcover
The Dead Sea Scrolls may well be the most important archaeological discovery of the twentieth century; it is certainly among the top discoveries in any case. It has shed important light on one of the most influential and formative documents of the world, namely the collection of writings which we have come to know as the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament. A thousand years older than the next-oldest copies we have of these documents, this treasure trove has delighted, tantalised, and irritated scholars, clerics, and other interested parties since their chance discover some half-century ago.
`Preserving parts of all but one biblical book, the scrolls confirm that the text of the Old Testament as it has been handed down through the ages is largely correct. Yet, they also reveal numerous important differences.'
(Do you know which book is not included? For the answer, see the bottom of this article.)
This book presents material from all 220 of the biblical scrolls (there are hundreds of other scrolls that were not biblical, i.e., not copies of biblical texts). These were newly translated by Eugene Ulrich, Peter Flint, and Martin Abegg, who hold important positions in the continuing research and scholarship about the scrolls. These editors have also added commentary to help illuminate further the textual variations between the scrolls and the texts we have today.
`At the time of Jesus and rabbi Hillel--the origins of Christianity and rabbinic Judaism--there was, and there was not, a 'Bible'. This critical period, and the nature of the Bible in that period, have been freshly illuminated by the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for anyone interested in the Bible. This is the first and only complete English translation of the important Biblical texts found at Qumran. These texts date back a 1000 years earlier than the ones used for most English Bible Translations. Now you can read what some Biblical texts said at the time of Jesus. Some of these texts date to 200 BC/BCE. Abegg, Ulrich and Flint have done an excellent job producing a book that will allow the lay person access to these important texts. Any one who takes the Bible seriously should have this on their self. The layout is easy to follow and the footnotes are handy for anyone needing to compare variant ancient readings. In addition to the books found in the Hebrew Bible, some other texts that were held in high regard at Qumran are in the book.Read for yourself what the Bible said 2000 years ago.
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Format: Hardcover
Over 90% of this book is made up of an English translation of the 10th century Masoretic Hebrew Text interspersed with less than 10% translated Dead Sea Scrolls material. The Masoretic Text is only separated by brackets instead of being differently colored or bold/light/italic faced which any reasonable writer-editor-publisher would have insisted on. Thus if we're looking up the first line of The Ten Commandments we get:
"[5."You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them, for I the Lord] your. [G]od..."
Translating this means we just have the word "your" and "...od" from the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is impossible to know if these words really were meant to be part of this sentence or not. By doing this, the authors make it appear that there are only a few thousand minor differences between the Dead Sea Scrolls Text and the later Masoretic Texts. In fact, what we find is thousands of differences in just the small portion of the Dead Sea Scroll texts we have, which represents less than 10% of the entire Masoretic Texts. (And we can't even judge how much of this 10% is in the right order) So on the one hand if one carefully analyzes the text, one does find that the Biblical Text in the 1st Century was incredibly different from the 10th century Biblical text, but the book seems designed to purposefully to give the opposite impression. Very misleading, but still valuable. Hopefully, someone will publish just the Dead Sea Scroll fragments, so readers can make their own assessment of what was found.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent source of information concerning the Biblical books (includes both OT books and those in the Apocrypha, a la Tobit) found at Qumran. However, instead of translating 1 Enoch, the editors simply said that it was available elsewhere and that it would do no good to reproduce it in the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. I think that was a mistake, and I hope to see it corrected in future editions. Some of the related Essene Enochian writings could also be included with the translation of I Enoch in the next edition. That would be cool. Overall, an excellent job was done with this Bible. I look foward to future editions.
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