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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview, not in-depth.
I bought the book having read a review on the Guardian's website. I remembered seeing a flurry of books come out on the subject in the early 90s, but never read any of them. After reading this book, I know why there was a "Scrolls fever" in the 90s! You'll have to read it to find out. It's a pretty short read, but covers the history of scrolls discoveries, the obstacles...
Published on 30 April 2010 by Gregory Franklin

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
I was excited about reading this book, wanting to understand what the Dead Sea Scrolls mean, what they tell us. Instead, the book seems to be written for divinity scholars at university, presuming a good deal of pre-existing knowledge. I read slowly through the first few chapters without having a clue what most of the terms and references meant. Less than half-way through...
Published 10 months ago by Mr. D. R. Goodman


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview, not in-depth., 30 April 2010
By 
Gregory Franklin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
I bought the book having read a review on the Guardian's website. I remembered seeing a flurry of books come out on the subject in the early 90s, but never read any of them. After reading this book, I know why there was a "Scrolls fever" in the 90s! You'll have to read it to find out. It's a pretty short read, but covers the history of scrolls discoveries, the obstacles that prevented the free flow of information to the public, and conclusions about what's actually in the scrolls themselves, including some widely accepted, and not-so-widely-accepted theories about what sort of people collected and wrote the scrolls. The reading is a little dry, especially near the beginning when the author covers the history of scrolls discoveries. But it picks up when he gets into their interpretation. Overall, a nice quick read on the dead sea scrolls, great for someone who like me knew next to nothing about them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary tale of a miraculous find and academic infighting., 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
Aimed sqaurely at our old friend General Reader, although this is a book dealing with the ostensibly dry and dusty world of Biblical scholarship and academic infighting, it's actually a fascinating read. In fact, the only thing that's dry and dusty about the whole saga is the desert in which these Scrolls were found.

Split into two parts, the first half of Vermes's book tells the story of how the scrolls were found and what then happened to them. Part two looks at what they actually say, placing the contents into the wider context of Biblical scholarship and thought, with speculations about the group that actually wrote them.

Part one is very lively, since it begins with that amazing discovery near the Dead Sea. Bathos soon takes over, however, and Vermes gives us chapter and verse on the whole sorry tale of bad management, incompetence and academic jealousy. Put simply, only a minority of the initially small team charged with restoring and translating the Scrolls were able to do the job with any competence. Vermes describes as a "scandal" the whole saga of misinterpretation, missed deadlines and the whole closed shop atmosphere, where only a select few were allowed access to the scrolls. As a consequence, four decades after the Scrolls' discovery, only a tiny fraction had been studied and translated. This is less of story of academic foibles than a tale of human folly on a global scale, and it's all the more fascinating for it.

Luckily, the last couple of decades have seen open access to the Scrolls' contents, and so study has continued apace.The second part of the book is, therefore, a comprehensive overview of the state of current Scrolls studies and a summary of the latest theories about the group that produced them.

Written at a brisk pace in a jaunty style, this book won't take you long to read and in fact it'll probably want you to go straight to the Professor's own translation of the scrolls themselves.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic elegance, 30 April 2010
By 
Stephen M Blank (Altrincham, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
This is a wonderful exposition about a subject that had always interested me in a peripheral way. I had never followed up my interest with any real research mainly because the relevant books were either opaque or seemed on the crackpot fringe of conspiracy theories.
Gesa Vermes' book is an excellent read, with sufficient scholarship to ensure the reader will learn plenty and key facts to lay the conspiracy theories to rest. As I have usually found, cock-up beats conspiracy most days and this book gently puts that record straight.
In the course of doing both these things it tells you about the life of a great scholar almost in passing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than it seems, 9 Jun 2014
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S. G. Raggett (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
Geza Vermes's work on the scrolls seems at first glance somewhat bogged down in the now largely forgotten controversy over the delays in processing the Dead Sea Scrolls; also for many readers the specialised details of the relationship between material in the scrolls and that in those scriptures known from ancient times could seem dry and over long.

However, on closer consideration, it is apparent that in the scope of a fairly short book, the author has dealt with the main aspects of the scrolls. He is able to dismiss any lingering doubts that more interesting documents might have been hidden from public view. He identifies the scrolls with the Essenes, a sect who were established in the first or possibly the late second century BC, and continued through the first century AD until they were destroyed by the Roman army in AD68. The author argues from the archaeological record against researchers who suggested the site the scrolls were found near could have been an agricultural or military rather than a religious complex.

He also gives a concise description of the main religious proceeding of the sect. New members or novices were trained over a number of year before initiation, while children of existing members could be initiated at the age of twenty. At a yearly ceremony, a procession of both those being initiated and existing members entered the water for baptism or immersion. The ceremony ended with the recital of a poem that referred to gazing on what is eternal and knowledge hidden from the sons of man.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going, 17 Feb 2014
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I was excited about reading this book, wanting to understand what the Dead Sea Scrolls mean, what they tell us. Instead, the book seems to be written for divinity scholars at university, presuming a good deal of pre-existing knowledge. I read slowly through the first few chapters without having a clue what most of the terms and references meant. Less than half-way through I gave up, although I hope to return to it at some time. I had learnt little about what the Scrolls tell us, what their importance is, and felt annoyed and confused because the writer seemed to think that the reader would know what the various terms and expressions meant. Disappointing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 'heavy' books I've read!, 11 Feb 2014
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Mr Totsy (North East of England) - See all my reviews
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An excellent, thorough explanation of how the dead sea scrolls eventually made it into the public domain!
Lots of twists and turns and many obstacles to overcome but after 60 odd years they finally arrived.
Although I would consider this a 'heavy' read - in that it was written very much like an essay - it was still very much 'readable' and not mind-numbingly crushing or boring.
Anyone who has an interest in the subject should consider this a perfect and logical place to start.

Would definitely recommend...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Vermes's version, 21 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
There is a distinct air throughout the book that the author is rather pleased with himself which detracts from an otherwise useful book. The Dead Sea scrolls and their interpretation is a contentious issue and on the whole Vermes explains the various probems well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Selective, 12 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
Vermes gives a reasonably convincing detail of the timeline of the deciphering of the scrolls however some may detect the voice of someone trying to exonerate themselves from any responsibility for the delay in publishing. He also gives minimal information on the initial in fighting that took place between the various religious groups striving to gain access to the scrolls and the panic that the find initiated within the religious community.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of the Scrolls, 26 May 2013
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
Bought for my husband who was very pleased with it. He would recommend it to anyone who is interested in history.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 4 Jun 2011
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Arman Roshdi - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paperback)
It was very good. I like this book. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the textual criticism.
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