The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press, 2017 - Dead Sea scrolls - 147 pages
Since their discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have become an icon in popular culture that transcends their status as ancient Jewish manuscripts. Everyone has heard of the Scrolls, but amidst the conspiracies, the politics, and the sensational claims, it can be difficult to separate the myths from the reality.

In this Very Short introduction, Timothy Lim discusses the cultural significance of the finds, and the religious, political and legal controversies during the seventy years of study since the discovery. He also looks at the contribution the Scrolls have made to our understanding of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, and the origins of early Christianity. Exploring the most recent scholarly discussions on the archaeology of Khirbet Qumran, and the study of the biblical texts, the canon, and the history of the Second Temple Period, he considers what the scrolls reveal about sectarianism in early Judaism. Was the archaeological site of Qumran a centre of monastic life, a fortress, a villa, or a pottery factory? Why were some of their biblical texts so different from the ones that we read today? Did they have 'a Bible'? Who were the Essenes and why did they think that humanity is to be divided between 'the sons of light' and those in darkness? And, finally, do the Scrolls reflect the teachings of the earliest followers of Jesus?

ABOUT THE SERIES The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

 

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Not an ideal topic for a VSI, as the organization of this book makes clear: a bit on modern myths over the DSS; a bit on how they were discovered; a bit on the social context of the DSS; a tiny bit on ... Read full review

Contents

The Dead Sea Scrolls as cultural icon
1
The archaeological site and caves
19
On scrolls and fragments
33
New light on the Hebrew Bible
40
The canon authoritative scriptures and the scrolls
58
Who owned the scrolls?
64
Literary compositions of the scrolls collections
72
Jewish sectarianism in the Second Temple period
78
The religious beliefs of the sectarian communities
107
The scrolls and early Christianity
113
The greatest manuscript discovery
123
References
127
Further reading
135
hithertounknown texts
139
Index
145
Very Short Introduction
148

The communities of the Dead Sea Scrolls
89

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About the author (2017)


Timothy Lim is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Period at New College, The University of Edinburgh. He has written several books and numerous articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls, including The Formation of the Jewish Canon (Yale University Press, 2013), and he co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls (OUP, 2010), with John J. Collins. He is the General Editor of The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Professor Lim is a renowned authority on Biblical and Jewish Studies and recently delivered the Chuen King Memorial lectures at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in China.

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