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The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by [Lim, Timothy]
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The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 152 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1066 KB
  • Print Length: 152 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0192806599
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (24 Nov. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SH22B0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #375,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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).
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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.
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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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very intelligent and balanced introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Useful for understanding the Qumranic community, and the mechanisms used to date and understand the formation of the scrolls. Those looking at the content of the scrolls - particularly from the perspective of how they enhance our understanding of Christianity will need to look elsewhere.
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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.
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