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Holman QuickSource Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls Paperback – February 1, 2010
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About the Author
Craig A. Evans is Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament and director of the graduate program at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. A widely recognized expert on the Bible and Archaeology, and Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, he also authored Jesus, the Final Days (with N. T. Wright) and Fabricating Jesus and is regular guest on Dateline NBC.
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I especially enjoyed the chapters on the historical background of the "Essenes". The chapters on how they were distinct from the Sadducees and the Pharisees were also fascinating.
This book demonstrated how fervent the Messianic hope of the Essenes was. It is amazing to me that we do not have any records of them seriously investigating the Messianic claims of Jesus or the early Christians. They believed the Messiah/Messiah's would lead them in the defeat of the Roman empire. I am sure they were aware of Jesus but He did not meet their expectations.
The chapter on how the dead sea scrolls compare with the Old Testament was fascinating. The light that this shed on the Psa 22:17 textual controversy was priceless. This chapter left me wishing I was reading an entire book on just that subject. I will be digging into the footnotes for more resources.
This book is a great introduction to the subject for all students of the Bible.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. He has a true scholar's perspective and clearly lays out what we know about the scrolls. He has multiple concrete examples of how the scrolls help us better understand the Bible and the background of the Jewish outlook on multiple subjects both before and after Christianity became a religion.
This is not an exceptionally long book but is well written and definitely well worth your time to have an overview of the scrolls as to both what they are and are not and how they help those who want to better understand not only the New Testament in the Bible but also the second temple time period.
However, there are some points that may be corrected:
1. There are sentences which are oversimplified. For example in the chapter about Israel's history we read about Roman's invasion. We read that some Jews have invited Romans, disappointed by their kings and Romans eagerly conquer the country. What I found then in the included table of Israel's kings is that there are several Hebrew kings and the last one before Romans has ruled 44 years. This means that Roman's invasion has took some long period, or so. Some clarification about this very interesting point would be great.
2. There are a lot of sentences, put there to stress key points in the book. The same technique is used in magazines. Excerpts are in the middle of the text which add useless repetition and make reading difficult, especially on smaller devices as Kindle.
3. Most of the illustrations are unrelated to the scrolls. Others related to the DSS are welcome.