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The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English Hardcover – 29 May 1997


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 5th Revised edition edition (29 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713991313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713991314
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 999,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Excellent, up-to-date... will enable the general public to read the non- biblical scrolls and to judge for themselves their importance. ("The New York Times Book Review") --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in 1924. He studied in Budapest and Louvain. He was the first Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford. His other books published by Penguin are The Changing Faces of Jesus and The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
On the western shore of the Dead Sea, about eight miles south of Jericho, lies a complex of ruins known as Khirbet Qumran. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

315 of 330 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 28 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Geza Vermes' book, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, is a worthy capstone to a long and distinguished scroll career. Vermes entire career, from his student days to this present work, has been concentrated largely on the Dead Sea Scrolls and related topics. His doctorate in 1953 was completed with a dissertation on the historical framework of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is difficult to find any scholar with as complete a knowledge of the scrolls as has Vermes; it is impossible to find one who knows them better.
This book was released in 1997, 50 years from the time the first Arab shepherd climbed into a cave in search of a wandering animal and instead fell upon the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Following the 'revolution' of 1991 (to use Vermes words), everyone interested could have unfettered access to the Scrolls, and yet, as inaccessible as they had been previously due to physical restriction, they remained just as inaccessible due to the problem of language and translation.
'In addition to the English rendering of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts found in the eleven Qumran caves, two inscribed potsherds (ostraca) retrieved from the Qumran site and two Qumran-type documents discovered in the fortress of Masada, and brief introductory notes to each text, this volume also provides an up-to-date general introduction, outlining the history of fifty years of Scroll research and sketching the organisation, history and religious message of the Qumran Community.'
This is the latest volume of a series: when Vermes first published an edition in 1962 (then 15 years after the discovery of the first scrolls), the book had 262 pages; the current edition has 648.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 July 2009
Format: Paperback
It was difficult to decide how many stars to give this volume. It's certainly more than OK, but I cannot say that I love it. It's not a book for the unwary and I don't think I would choose to re-read it in the foreseeable let alone the distant future. It is not an easy book to read. It is scholarly, and is a book of sources. Who reads sources for pleasure, apart from academics and those with a point to make? But it is invaluable nevertheless; but there is no `story'.

Most people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is often an air of excitement whenever they are discussed in television programmes about Jesus and the times in which he lived, about the origins of Christianity. By their very nature, they are a prime resource in understanding the mindset of some of those occupying Palestine at this time. But it is the nature of this `some' that has proved problematical. How important were these people whose writings were left in the isolated caves of Qumran?

I approached `The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English' after having read a number of years ago some books by Robert Eisenman, so I had a bit of an inkling about what to expect, and whilst reading this volume I would make some comparisons between Eisenman's and interpretations and those of renowned Biblical scholar Geza Vermes, who has edited this volume. It is clear that there are still great scholarly arguments over these scrolls. Robin Lane Fox has written how "textual diversity reigned" at Qumran, and that diversity has on occasion fuelled the fires of quite virulent invective between academics.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Edwards on 7 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a very detailed book starting with a long history of the translation process, before purchasing this a lay-person should ensure that they know what they are after whether they want biblical or non-biblical scrolls and that they are not confusing these scrolls with the nag hammadi ones
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Kinsella on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It goes into a lot of detail about the texts and the community itself in the introduction to the book, before it gets into the actual texts themselves, which is the main reason benefit I have derived from the book so far.

The texts themselves offer us an invaluable verification that the Bible has indeed been preserved for us through the centuries. One example is found on page 15 for example where Vermes says "Before 1947 the oldest Hebrew text of the whole of Isaiah was the Ben Asher codex from Cairo dated to 895 CE, as against the complete Isaiah scroll found at cave I, which is about a millennium older."

It's a Penguin Classic and quite a hefty tome. It does leave out the Biblical texts themselves, as they are obviously very well known, and very accessible and therefore of less interest to the general reader, though they can be found in a separate publication available here:

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time Into English

It's got a generous bibliography at the back too, which gives me the access I was looking for to decent works related to the Essenes theological, eschatological, religious and practical points of view, rather than the New Age tripe I was finding on Amazon's search engine.
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