Dead Sea Scrolls (what do they prove? what are they?)

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Judaean desert between 1947 and 1956 transformed our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism and the origins of Christianity. These extraordinary manuscripts appear to have been hidden in the caves at Quumran by members of the Essene community, a Jewish sect in existence before and during the time of Jesus. Some sixty years after the Scrolls’ first discovery, this revised and much expanded edition of The Dead Sea Scrolls in English crowns a lifetime of research by the great Qumran scholar Geza Vermes.

As well as superb translations of all non-biblical texts sufficiently well preserved to be rendered into English, there are also a number of previously unpublished texts, and a new preface.

Since its first publication in 1962, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English has established itself as the standard English translation of the non-Biblical Qumran Scrolls and as giving an astonishing insight to the organization, customs, history and beliefs of the community responsible for them. This edition will contain new material, together with extensive new introductory material and notes.

It’s been 50 years since a Bedouin youth named Muhammed edh-Dhub went looking for a stray sheep and instead found the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the intervening decades, the scrolls have been enveloped in a storm of controversy and bitter conflict: the scholars entrusted with translating and editing the texts sat on many of them instead, creating suspicions that escalated to conspiracy theories about supposed cover-ups of sensitive, even damaging material. Geza Vermes, a former professor of Jewish studies at Oxford and a noted authority on the scrolls, marks the 50th anniversary of Muhammed edh-Dhub’s find with his book The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English; the title, however, is misleading, for the collection of documents is by no means complete.
Vermes has left out the copies of Hebrew scriptures that are available elsewhere, instead focusing on the sectarian writings of the Essene community at Qumran and the intertestemental texts, and these are indeed complete translations. Vermes has also included an overview of five decades of research on the scrolls and a thumbnail sketch of the Qumran community’s history and religion. For anyone interested in biblical history, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English is a worthwhile read. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

here is an ‘anti proofs’ video post. (its always wise to present the ‘other sides’ of issues)

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