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The Complete World Of The Dead Sea Scrolls : [Hardcover]

Philip R. Davies , George J. Brooke , Phillip R. Callaway
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 April 2007
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been described as 'the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times'. Since the first scrolls were found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947, the remains of over 800 documents have been recovered from eleven caves in the Judaean desert. With all the scrolls now finally available in translation conclusions can at last be drawn as to their authorship and origins, their implication for Christianity and Judaism, and their link with the ancient site of Qumran. This timely book, written by three noted scholars in the field, draws together all the evidence and presents the first fully illustrated survey of every major manuscript, from the Copper Scroll, the Community Rule and the Temple Scroll to less well-known scripts such as the Florilegium and New Jerusalem.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (22 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500051119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500051115
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 20 x 25.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Richly illustrated texts.

About the Author

Philip Davies has written five books and many articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other books on biblical history. George J. Brooke is Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester and co-founder of the journal Dead Sea Discoveries. Phillip R. Callaway has written widely on the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the book The History of the Qumran Community: An Investigation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Sea Scrolls in context 4 Jan 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
Like most Thames & Hudson productions, this book is a very beautiful text. Printed in vibrant, full-colour process, every page has graphics, pictures, colours, maps, or some other piece of visual interest. When dealing with a subject like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the material for visual presentation is grand, as are the settings in which many of the scrolls have been found.
After a brief introduction and chronology, the book is divided into five primary sections. The first section explores the early discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the famous Damascus document, a 'Dead Sea Scroll' actually not from the Dead Sea area - 50 years prior to the 1947/48 discoveries, Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University discovered manuscripts in a Cairo genizah, and after the discovery of the DSS, the particular 'Damascus document' was recognised as being related to the DSS texts. This section also looks at the editorial process and the personalities first involved in reconstruction and editing of the texts. This involves the many controversies (such as the charges of cover-ups of damaging material, intentional delays, and simply old fashioned academic rivalries) as well as controversial personalities (Allegro, for example, wrote extensively apart from his DSS assignments calling into question the origins of Christianity).
The second section looks at the world of the DSS. This sets the historical context of Judea/Palestine in the centuries before and during Roman domination and occupation. From the Babylonian exile to the revolts against Rome and the formation of Rabbinic Judaism, the culture of the communities is important for understanding the context in which the biblical and extra-biblical texts of the DSS were written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and interesting 22 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
I can only comment as an interested general reader, not an expert in the field. I found it informative and interesting, and enjoyed the layout, with many well-captioned illustrations, and many side-panels on particular topics.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Sea Scrolls - Where to Start 8 Dec 2002
By Virgil Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Where does one start the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls? One would do well to start with copies of the texts. The biblical texts may be found in _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_ translated by Martin Abegg et al. The non-biblical texts which includes the sectarian texts, may be found in _The Dead Sea Scrolls_ translated by Michael Wise et al. (Incidentally there are no unpublished texts of any significance. These two volumes cover the field.)
Then one needs a book which explains where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found such as Jodi Magness' _The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scolls_. But as the starting point one needs _The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls_.
Philip Davies, George Brooke, and Phillip Callaway have written a "complete" introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first section of the book discusses the discovery of the scrolls, their editing, and their publication. The second section discusses the history of the time of the scrolls, including the sects of that time.
Perhaps the third section should have been divided into two. The third section begins with chapters on how to make a scroll, script styles, Carbon-14 dating of the scrolls, and how to reconstruct a scroll from fragments. (If one has never read of the techniques for scroll reconstruction, this chapter is a must.)
Next comes the bulk of the book. The most significant scrolls from each cave are discussed. Cave 1 had a number of the sectarian scrolls. Cave 4 had the largest number of scrolls. The scrolls from Caves 5 to 10 receive only two pages of attention despite the sensationalism surrounding the Greek scrolls found in Cave 7 (and see also page 190).
The fourth section of the book discusses the settlement of Qumran. (One should be sure to refer to Magness' _Archaeology_.) The fifth section discusses the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I will leave these for the consideration of the reader.
Included in _Complete World_ are a list of the contents of Discoveries in the Judean Desert, a chart of paleographic Hebrew, a list of the scrolls by cave, etc. _Complete World_ is a feast of reading with the scrumptious photographs of a coffee table book. This book deserves more than a five star rating.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Sea Scrolls in context 29 Sep 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Like most Thames & Hudson productions, this book is a very beautiful text. Printed in vibrant, full-colour process, every page has graphics, pictures, colours, maps, or some other piece of visual interest. When dealing with a subject like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the material for visual presentation is grand, as are the settings in which many of the scrolls have been found.

After a brief introduction and chronology, the book is divided into five primary sections. The first section explores the early discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the famous Damascus document, a 'Dead Sea Scroll' actually not from the Dead Sea area - 50 years prior to the 1947/48 discoveries, Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University discovered manuscripts in a Cairo genizah, and after the discovery of the DSS, the particular 'Damascus document' was recognised as being related to the DSS texts. This section also looks at the editorial process and the personalities first involved in reconstruction and editing of the texts. This involves the many controversies (such as the charges of cover-ups of damaging material, intentional delays, and simply old fashioned academic rivalries) as well as controversial personalities (Allegro, for example, wrote extensively apart from his DSS assignments calling into question the origins of Christianity).

The second section looks at the world of the DSS. This sets the historical context of Judea/Palestine in the centuries before and during Roman domination and occupation. From the Babylonian exile to the revolts against Rome and the formation of Rabbinic Judaism, the culture of the communities is important for understanding the context in which the biblical and extra-biblical texts of the DSS were written.

The longest section of the book is the third section, looking specifically at the scrolls themselves. The authors take a cave-by-cave approach, showing the discoveries of each cave from Cave 1 to Cave 4 in great detail (these were the earliest and largest discoveries), Cave 5 to 10 as a set piece, and Cave 11 which includes the famous Temple Scroll and an important Psalm Scroll. One of the issues the authors highlight is the difficulty in using the term 'biblical' with regard to the scrolls - the canon of the Bible was not set until well after the scroll writing/copying period, and despite the fact that every book of the Hebrew Bible is represented among the scrolls save Esther, 'it seems that other texts were regarded as having equal status.' Some appear in the official Apocrypha of Christian Bibles, and others were unknown until the discovery of the scrolls.

The fourth section looks specifically at the ruins at Qumran, the archaeological digs and discoveries as well as the competing interpretations placed on the ruins and artifacts. Qumran has been envisioned as a monastery, a military outpost, a Herodian villa, and a proto-city. Whether or not the scrolls have any real connection to Qumran is also a debated topic, although most scholars currently think there is a connection.

The final section looks at the meaning of the scrolls as a set piece. What are the implications for Judaism? What does the scroll material reveal about early Christianity? 'The Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionised our perception of Early Judaism,' the authors write. They are a unique witness to their time, offering contemporary, first-hand evidence of the sectarian issues of the day. With regard to early Christianity, the scrolls predate the origins of the early Christian writings, but they were by most accounts still being written, and then hidden, during the time of the Apostles. Scholars continue to speculate about the Essene connections with John the Baptist and Jesus (although the New Testament never mentions this sect, and yet does mention Pharisees and Sadduccees). There are important parallels, but neither the early Christian movement nor the Dead Sea Scroll community were unique in their messianic expectation.

This is a book about the scrolls. It discusses the context, the framework, the history and the discovery in good form. It is a good introductory text to what the scrolls are, and includes brief synopses of the contents of the scrolls. This is not a collection of the scrolls with translations; while it has pictures from all of the sets of scrolls, it is not a comprehensive compendium of photographic plates of all of the scrolls and scroll fragments. There are other (much more expensive) collections with these. This is a good book for use with study groups, classes, and for the general reader who wants an overview of the scrolls, their history, their basic contents, and the surrounding issues and controversies. The text was well written by Philip Davies, George Brooke, and Phillip Callaway, noted scholars in the field .
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wide-Ranging Introduction to the Scrolls 16 Jun 2004
By W. M. Robbins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Bedouin at Khirbet Qumran in 1947 was one of the greatest archaeological finds in recorded history. Produced from circa 200 B.C. to circa 100 A.D., the Scrolls are a wealth of knowledge from the ancient Middle East during Biblical times. The convoluted story of their collection, translation and publication has taken over fifty years and filled dozens of volumes. To a noephyte student of the Scrolls this collection of literature can seem overwhelming. Many different threads of research weave the tapestry of the Scrolls' history, and adding to the confusion are the many publications which are filled with ill-advised conjecture, conspiracy theories, misguided research and the like. _The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls_ provides a starting point, a lens through which to view and organize this body of research material.
Phillip R. Davies, George J. Brooke and Phillip R. Callaway, three of the most respected scholars involved in the research and publication the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, have combined their expertise to create the most complete introduction to the Scrolls imaginable. Here "complete" does not mean that the authors have included the entire body of knowledge available regarding the Scrolls, but refers to the fact that they have introduced the reader to every facet of the story of the Scrolls' discovery, research and history. _The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls_ is an overview which introduces the reader to the many avenues of research regarding the Scrolls and provides an extensive "Further Reading" list to allow the reader to increase their knowledge in the areas of greatest interest to them, whether it be translation, archaeology, historical context, the meaning of the Scrolls to studies of Judaism and Christianity, etc.
With over 200 illustrations, numerous side bars, factfiles, timelines, etc., this book is a beautifully presented treatment of the Scrolls, and a must read for anyone interested in studying them. Organization is very much like that of a text book, breaking the subject matter into various sections rather than chapters, and reminds me of the various series that Time-Life used to publish. This is appropriate, since _The Complete World_ is a series which includes such titles as _The Complete Pyramids_, _The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt_, _The Complete World of Tutankhamun_ and _The Complete World of the Valley of the Kings_.
52 of 72 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This may not be the book you want 21 Sep 2005
By LF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I ordered this book I didn't realize what it was. I thought it was going to tell me about the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls. No, it isn't that kind of book. I wouldn't have ordered it had I known what it was.

It is more about the discovery of the scrolls, the caves, etc.

So let this review be a warning to a prospective buyer. If what you are interested in is simply to learn the stories contained in the scrolls, read some of the other reviews to find out where that information can best be found. Not here.

Anyone who gives this review a negative rating doesn't understand the process. This review is exactly the kind of information I could have used before I bought the book.

Get the right tool for the job. If you need a Phillips head screwdriver get a Phillips head screwdriver. If you are looking for a book that concentrates on the stories contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls, get one. It's not this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine overview 11 July 2005
By meadowreader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Dead Sea Scrolls, written by experts, up to date, and lavishly illustrated with drawings and magnificent photos. The experts who wrote the book seem to be on the skeptical wing of DSS theorizing, arguing that every aspect of the early consensus (Qumran was inhabited by sectarian Essenes, who wrote the DSS and hid them in area caves before being wiped out by the Romans) is much less certain than generally believed.

The story of how the scrolls were discovered, collected, and restored is highly interesting and very well described; but even more fascinating to me was the description of the vicious, cut-throat competition and in-fighting among the various researchers as they fought for decades over access to the materials. And a unique copper scroll that contains clues about the location of huge quantities of gold and silver supposedly hidden in the area, perhaps as much as 100 tons of it, has caused more than one scholar to leave his desk and go looking.

There is much left to be learned about the origin and meaning of these scrolls, but no matter how that eventually turns out, they have greatly changed our view of Judaism as it existed around the first century. The DSS show that there was far more diversity and ferment than previously thought. For example, different groups seem to have been operating according to different calendars. That would mean different schedules of festival days, and may have resulted in different groups sharing the Temple on some basis. It is even possible that the Essenes were not a single small community of extreme pietists holed up at Qumran, but just one more variety of Judaism, with adherents living in many places, including in an Essene Quarter in Jerusalem itself.
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