The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Dead Sea Scrolls: A V... has been added to your Basket
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Nov 2005


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£7.99
£2.35 £0.01
£7.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + The Apocryphal Gospels: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Price For All Three: £20.77

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (24 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806598
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.3 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Timothy Lim (1960- ) is a British and Canadian national who lives and works in the United Kingdom. He holds the Chair in Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh. He has won numerous awards and was a fellow at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford before moving to Edinburgh in 1994. He has just completed a book on the formation of the Jewish canon for Yale University Press (2013) and serves as the General Editor of a new series, the Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls, for which he is writing a volume on the Habakkuk Pesher.

Product Description

Review

an excellent addition to the series (Evangelical Quarterly)

About the Author

Timothy Lim is Reader in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, and is a widely recognized expert in the field. His research has University ospects of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, to sectarianism, the history of the calendar, and ancient science. He is the author of Holy Scripture in the Qumran Commentaries and Pauline Letters (OUP, 1997), and is Principal Editor of Volume 1 of the official digitised edition of the scrolls entitled The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Reference Library (1997, OUP and Brill Academic Publishers). He has made numerous media appearances to promote the public understanding of religion.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few know what they are or the significance they have for our understanding of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism, and the origins of Christianity. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 7 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of the VSI - Very Short Introduction - Series done by the Oxford University Press. On literally hundreds of subjects, they provide a survey with enough depth and detail to be worthwhile to the non-specialist, a wide enough range to useful for students looking for authoritative information, and good as a general outline of the fields or subjects as preparation for further study.

This particular volume on the Dead Sea Scrolls touches on one of my areas of interest that I have been following for over a quarter of a century (and it pains me to realise that I am indeed old enough to have areas of study that reach back that far). When I first encountered information about the scrolls, one controversy about them was over ownership rights and publication rights - there were conspiracy theories about why the scrolls were being withheld, and no such thing as a complete volume of the scrolls. These issues are included in Timothy Lim's text, as that story has become part of the history of the scrolls.

Lim also addresses the role of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a cultural icon: 'Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few know what they are or the significance they have for our understanding of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism, and the origins of Christianity.' The scrolls have been a media sensation for what they are more so than for what they contain; the location where they were found (a mysterious place, the Dead Sea, the site of ancient battles and settlements, and a place that is still in turmoil today) also played a part of in the mystery of the scrolls, as did the Catholic-dominated scholarly team that worked on the translations and reconstruction for so long (conspiracy theories still resonate in works such as the Da Vinci Code).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jon Chambers TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the occasional carp that media coverage of the Dead Sea Scrolls coincides with high points of the Christian (as opposed to Jewish) calendar, or about the use of the term 'insurgents' for freedom fighters in the Second Jewish Revolt (against Rome), this is an admirably dispassionate and reasoned VSI. The finding of ancient scrolls in Khirbet Qumran, Palestine, in 1947, has been called 'the greatest manuscript discovery ever'. That Lim avoids exaggeration is evident from his own more qualified view (in more ways than one, I suspect): 'the greatest discovery ... for Jewish studies of the Second Temple Period and biblical studies' - which gives a rather less sensational slant.

Such avoidance of hyperbole might sound unexciting. Certainly, discussion of copyright law, or the torturous history of Second Temple Judaism might seem as arid as the desert sands, but there should be enough to engage the mind. There are no cheap, Dan Brownesque Vatican conspiracies exposed or major scriptural revelations announced. Yet in terms of the light shed on the early scribes and scriptures, on the archaeology of Qumran, on modern scholarly practice and on a unique period of human history, there are revelations and controversies enough.

Lim offers an insight into the religious life of one of the ancient world's great sects, the extremely ascetic Essenes. It was intriguing to learn that Jewish demotic was Aramaic, not Hebrew, during the Persian period. And that the Essenes may well have had scriptoria, like medieval monks, in which to copy their scriptures. I've also learnt a new word: 'parablepsis', a phenomenon whereby the eye skips a line or a phrase when copying - a mistake we've all made, but an especially taxing one when ancient scribes commit the error.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. G. Henderson on 3 July 2013
Format: Paperback
A Very Short Introduction should ideally have a Very Short Review.
I enjoyed this book I picked up at the British Museum. For those with only a sketchy notion of the scrolls and their significance this is ideal and it gives suggestions for further reading if you want more. Conspiracy theories are neatly dismissed. There seems little quesion the scrolls are linked with the Essene sect (although this is disputed by some) but it did seem that most of the book was taken up with discussion of the Essenes rather than the scrolls themselves. This didn't spoil things and my brief title sums it up.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fact-heavy account of the circumstances surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient manuscripts discovered in caves near Khirbet Qumran that went on to become something of a cultural icon. I found the book informative, but if I'm being honest, a little on the dry side. There's an awful lot of information crammed in here, much of it concerning what we can gather about the Qumran community. Also a lot on how the scrolls have contributed to our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. No doubt the media-driven mystique of the topic led me to unreasonably high expectations, but unfortunately the subject didn't capture my interest as much as I thought it would. On a positive note, I approached this book not quite knowing what the Dead Sea scrolls actually were, and Timothy Lim certainly cleared it up for me, dispelling the myths and explaining their importance to archaeologists and researchers of ancient Judaism/early Christianity. In that respect, job done.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The scrolls, briefly 7 Jun. 2007
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a fan of the VSI - Very Short Introduction - Series done by the Oxford University Press. On literally hundreds of subjects, they provide a survey with enough depth and detail to be worthwhile to the non-specialist, a wide enough range to useful for students looking for authoritative information, and good as a general outline of the fields or subjects as preparation for further study.

This particular volume on the Dead Sea Scrolls touches on one of my areas of interest that I have been following for over a quarter of a century (and it pains me to realise that I am indeed old enough to have areas of study that reach back that far). When I first encountered information about the scrolls, one controversy about them was over ownership rights and publication rights - there were conspiracy theories about why the scrolls were being withheld, and no such thing as a complete volume of the scrolls. These issues are included in Timothy Lim's text, as that story has become part of the history of the scrolls.

Lim also addresses the role of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a cultural icon: 'Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few know what they are or the significance they have for our understanding of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism, and the origins of Christianity.' The scrolls have been a media sensation for what they are more so than for what they contain; the location where they were found (a mysterious place, the Dead Sea, the site of ancient battles and settlements, and a place that is still in turmoil today) also played a part of in the mystery of the scrolls, as did the Catholic-dominated scholarly team that worked on the translations and reconstruction for so long (conspiracy theories still resonate in works such as the Da Vinci Code). Lim also highlights the role of the Biblical Archaeology Society in 'freeing' the scrolls from the captivity of the scholarship team.

Lim discusses the history of the scrolls as an archaeological find, and puts forward several of the theories of their origins. The primary theory that Lim develops in good detail is the Qumran-Essene origin, which is the dominant theory among scroll scholars today. The archaeological sites are largely situated near the ancient settlement of Qumran, at the north end of the Dead Sea (an hour's drive from Jerusalem today, but a day's journey or more from Jerusalem in ancient Judea). Lim's discussion of de Vaux's archeological work on Qumran is one of the best brief overviews that I have read across several dozen books on the scrolls.

Lim discusses the scrolls themselves, discussing many of the difficulties of working with them. He mentions that there are 800 to 900 scrolls (and why we don't know for certain just how many of them there are in the collections), consisting of 25,000 fragments or more. Piecing them together is just one part of the problem; not having all the pieces complicates matters, and not having an accurate guide to follow in reconstruction is another. Biblical and ancient texts can be difficult enough to translate and reconstruct even when they are well known, so how does one account for differences in texts? Are they scribal errors (frequent in ancient manuscripts, given that they are hand written)? Are they reconstruction errors? Are they legitimate textual variants?

A large number of the scrolls are biblical texts - the Hebrew Bible has every book save Esther represented in the scrolls. This is important, as it backs up the antiquity of the writings we have by nearly a millennium - the oldest texts of the Hebrew Bible prior to the discovery of the scrolls were texts like the Leningrad Codex, which dates closer to 1000 c.e.; the scrolls date back in some instances as long as 250 years before the time of Herod, Hillel and Jesus. Lim highlights some of the intriguing finds, such as the discrepancy of Goliath's height, recorded in modern texts following the Masoretic text (that in the Leningrad Codex) as approximately 9 feet 9 inches, and the scrolls which record a more realistic 6 feet 9 inches - a giant in a world where 5 feet 4 inches would be closer to the norm, but hardly a super-human height.

This book is an excellent resource for study groups and individuals who want a quick introduction; in today's school environment, students are confronted with an increasing volume of information, but the means to organise and use that information hasn't increased at the same rate. The presentation of material in the typical VSI is good at addressing this need for organisation and utility, and Lim's text on the Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the best of this series that I have read thus far. In addition to the well-written text, it includes maps, graphics and pictures of the scrolls and associated places (the Shrine of the Book, Qumran, etc.), a good index, and a very good list of references keyed to each chapter.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good place to start 26 Dec. 2007
By Marlene E. Teter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this as a review before seeing the exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I have read a great deal about them throughout the years but didn't want to go back and re-read whole books. This is also a good book for those who know nothing about the Scrolls and want to start somewhere.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Made to order for a know-next-to-nothing like myself 7 Jun. 2010
By R. M. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For as long as I can remember, it seems, new books keep appearing on the Dead Sea Scrolls (which were discovered in 1947, two years before I was born). At some point I became interested in the subject, but in looking to learn something about it I had a hard time distinguishing between objective books and those that had a particular religious or academic axe to grind. For someone in my shoes, this volume from the Oxford "Very Short Introduction" Series is made to order. The author Timothy H. Lim is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh; he is the author or editor of several academic books dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls and he is a member of an international team of editors that is producing consensus editions of the texts. Nothing in the book's principal 120-page text made me question my initial assumption that what the work presents is a balanced summary of the weight of current scholarship concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thus, it serves, I think, as a good introduction to the subject.

Among the matters addressed are the scrolls themselves, the archaeology of Khirbet Qumran, the prevailing hypothesis that associates the scrolls with a community of Essenes that lived at Qumran, a description of that Essene community, and the reasons for concluding that the scrolls relate to the Jewish faith rather than the early Christian faith. A fair portion of the book, and the most interesting to me, has to do with how the scrolls contribute to the current assessment of the "reliability" (for want of a better word) of the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament. (The book also raises a few examples where the Masoretic Text appears to be flawed, one of which is its presentation of Goliath as an improbable giant of 9 feet 9 inches in height, in contrast to two other texts, one from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that present him as being a much more plausible 6 feet 9 inches tall.)

Lim identifies, and debunks, some of the more sensational works that purport to interpret or base historical conclusions on the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of the more infamous such works, which Lim calmly addresses and dismisses, is "Jesus the Man" by Barbara Thiering, which purported to show that Jesus did not die on the Cross, but survived, married Mary Magdalene, and fathered several children.

Lim's writing style is a little dry and academic, but by and large it is plain enough that I could understand it without undue effort. The only part of the book that became tedious and made demands on my concentration similar to those from my college days was the chapter on the Qumran community.

By no means is THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS the be-all and end-all for the interested layperson, but it does provide a reliable orientation for further, more in-depth reading. And if I never get around to such reading, I at least now know something rather than next-to-nothing about the subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A sober and enlightening introduction... 14 Mar. 2010
By ewomack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Given all the recent fictionalized scandals (not to mention the very unfortunate non-fictionalized ones) about impropriety and conspiracies surrounding religious institutions, it comes as no surprise that a recent hype has risen around a significant archeological find: the Dead Sea Scrolls. Controversy has followed the discovery of these some 25,000 fragments (depending on how one counts) of ancient documents. Some have claimed that academics and religious authorities have intentionally kept the scrolls from view because they overturn today's conception of "religious truth." These scandals held water before the whole lot of the scrolls were released for research in the early 1990s. Critics held that "compromising documents" could already be destroyed, but no proof of that accusation has apparently surfaced. Timothy Lim, a Dead Sea Scrolls expert and author of the very tiny but very readable "The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction" debunks the myths that continue to vaporize around what he calls the greatest manuscript find of the 20th century. Not only that, this little book provides a sobering and enlightening view of the Scrolls from the Dead Sea. The true importance of the scrolls lies in historical research and that they now stand as the earliest known copies of Biblical texts.

Lim gives a very high level view of the Scrolls' history and importance. No longer under lock and key, the scrolls emerge as decisive documents for understanding Second Temple Judaism. Extremely few documents from that period have surfaced, so the unexpected boon from the caves near Qumran has proved betyond fruitful. Lim points out that, given some of the scrolls' textual variations, there was far more doctrinal tolerance in early Judaism that previously thought. The beliefs, culture and theories surrounding the Qumran communities also takes up a large part of the book. Just who penned the scrolls remains contested. The dominant theory involves the ascetic Essene sect, known as the "Qumran-Essene hypothesis." It is not without its problems. Lim points out the disparate groups of evidence: the scrolls, the ruins at Khirbet Qumran and ancient sources describing the Essenes. No definitive evidence to link these three sources has appeared. Lim outlines the challenges this theory faces, but points out that many scholars consider this the most likely theory given current evidence. Also, Lim assumes this theory for the remainder of the book. Rather detailed discussions of Essenes, their culture and settlements fills the book's second half. Probably the most surprising revelation involves the finding of missing or alternate wordings for now entrenched Biblical texts. The most dramatic involves a missing paragraph from 1 Samuel 11. Others involve the naming of cities and the supposed height of Goliath. Lim also declares that no traces of early Christianity appear in the scrolls. He states unequivocally that the Scrolls are not Christian documents.

The text allows an unsensationalized perspective of Dead Sea Scrolls to form. They are important historical and religious documents, but they do not present anything like a Copernican Revolution for our understanding of Christianity. Those seeking a very readable and quick overview of these fascinating documents will find an incredibly facile introduction in Lim's short book. Don't expect "The Da Vinci Code."
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A very shot (but dense) introduction 8 Nov. 2007
By Aaronjon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lim's "short" introduction packs more information into 134 pages than most do in 300+. This is a terrific resource for those who want a strong, basic grasp of Scroll scholarship and archeology. My only complaint is that Lim's bias shows through in his excitement regarding several Scroll controversies.

Anyone interested in the Scrolls will find this a helpful resource.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback