The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Penguin Classics)

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More from this Author. Christian Beginnings Geza Vermes. Jesus Geza Vermes. The Story of the Scrolls Geza Vermes. The Resurrection Geza Vermes. The Nativity Geza Vermes. The Passion Geza Vermes. About the Author. Geza Vermes Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in Sign up to the Penguin newsletter For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more. Please enter an email. Please enter a valid email address.

Thank you for signing up to the Penguin Newsletter. Subscription failed, please try again. Our Shelves. Gift Cards. Add a gift card to your order! Choose your denomination:. Details Look Inside Customer Reviews. Paperback , pages. Published November 30th by Penguin Classics first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English: Seventh Edition (Penguin Cl…

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. I woud like to ask if this Penguin edition has individual verse numbering? Anthony Dalton It does, only to the extent that it labels every fifth verse, so for instance if you are reading 1QS Book 5, it indicates verse 15 and verse 20, but …more It does, only to the extent that it labels every fifth verse, so for instance if you are reading 1QS Book 5, it indicates verse 15 and verse 20, but in order to quote verse 17 specifically, one really has to guess.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Shelves: history. A rare look inside an isolationist Jewish cult 14 September I suspect that Vermes is probably the foremost expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls since it seems that every book about it is either written, or edited, by him, but then that is simply an observation that I have made. For those not familiar with these ancient documents they were found hidden in a cave by the Dead Sea in about by a young shepherd and they have been classified as one of the most significant archaeological finds of the A rare look inside an isolationist Jewish cult 14 September I suspect that Vermes is probably the foremost expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls since it seems that every book about it is either written, or edited, by him, but then that is simply an observation that I have made.

For those not familiar with these ancient documents they were found hidden in a cave by the Dead Sea in about by a young shepherd and they have been classified as one of the most significant archaeological finds of the last century. Basically they are a collection of scrolls written by a Roman era Jewish sect known as the Essenes and among the many non-biblical scrolls they also contain a complete copy of the book of Isaiah and pretty much sections of every other book of the Old Testament, and most importantly, some of these scroll date back to at least BC.

In fact, other than the Babylonian tablets and the Egyptian wall writings, they are probably some of the oldest texts that we have. The Essenes were an isolationist Jewish sect that had become disgusted with both sides of Jewish politics, being those collaborating with Rome and those rebelling against Rome, and took the third option: leave society and go an establish your own, pure, society in the middle of the desert. These scrolls actually contain details of their cleansing rituals as well as admission requirements for new members.

In fact, they appear to be very cultish, effectively rejecting the world of the day and having pretty much nothing to do with it. They would be very similar to some of the isolationist Christian cults that we see around the place, though probably closer to say the likes of Branch Davidian than some of the cults that actually abide by the rules of society, while living separate from them remember, the whole Branch Davidian fiasco really came down to the fact that they we so isolationist that they refused to pay taxes, which is why the FBI came down so hard of them - they were not terrorists like the Jewish Zealots were.

These scrolls also give us an insight into the ways that the Old Testament books were written, in that we have a number of scrolls which contain merely outlines of the books rather than the complete text itself, as well as commentaries on various aspects of these books. The Essenes were very traditional Jews, so the scrolls really only contain literature that relates to Jewish Literature than to any of the foreign influences that we find in the Gnostic Gospels.

The Jewish mind set of the day was generally to reject anything that was not Jewish unless you were a collaborator and then all bets were off. These scrolls are pre-Christian, and in fact pre-Christ, so despite suggestions to the contrary, there are no New Testament documents among the collection. However, we do have glimpses of the idea of the Messiah in these texts and what the Essenes at least were looking for.

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English

However, it appears that they were not looking for one, but two, separate Messiahs, one being a teacher and another being a ruler. Many of the fundamentalist Jews of the day were expecting a warrior King, along the line of David and Joshua, rather than a king of Wisdom, along the line of Moses and Solomon.

This also comes out amongst the scrolls, particularly with references to the Kittim, which we understand as being the Romans. Remember, things were different in those days in that it was a lot easier to isolate oneself from society that it is now. Despite the vast tracks of emptiness that cover the world, it is difficult for us Westerners to live a self sufficient lifestyle; the government will always intrude.

Now I do not necessarily consider modern government to be a bad thing, but I am not all in favour of the current practices either. In a way I consider that governments are a necessary evil. It differed for the Jews than to me though because I am a citizen of my nation-state, whereas the Jews were an occupied people.

Whatever freedoms they had were always dictated to them by the Roman legate. View 2 comments. Jan 31, E Owen rated it really liked it. I've been itching to read this for a long time as it is undeniably one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. I was unaware that prior to the discovery of the scrolls, no existing Hebrew examples of the Old Testament survived from before the birth of Christ — many thanks to the wandering Bedouin shepherd who came across the caves.


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The Holy Land at this time was being pressed by external influences namely the Greeks and Romans and fizzing with different Jewish groups su I've been itching to read this for a long time as it is undeniably one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. The Holy Land at this time was being pressed by external influences namely the Greeks and Romans and fizzing with different Jewish groups such the Zealots, Sadducees and Pharisees - the latter two Jesus had a few run-ins with.

The texts provide a fascinating insight into the Essenes, a Jewish sect who lived a strictly regimented and ascetic existence. I would be doing a lot of penance had I been an Essene.

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How then can he who returns to his dust? Much of the latter half of the book is preoccupied with secondary apocryphal stories of the biblical prophets and scrolls dealing with biblical interpretation and the end of days. I dare anyone to not feel at least a little bit like Indiana Jones reading that. All in all, a fascinating read. View 1 comment.

May 26, Ethan rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , textual-resources. Vermes was a great scholar, well-attuned to Rabbinic texts and thus the history of Judaism, and this is reflected in his treatment of the DSS. The introduction may be long but it is thorough, discussing the circumstances of the discovery of the DSS, a history of the translation of the DSS, what is to be learned from the DSS, a survey of scholastic opinion regarding the relationship between the DSS and Qumran, and of course a great analysis An accessible translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls DSS.

The introduction may be long but it is thorough, discussing the circumstances of the discovery of the DSS, a history of the translation of the DSS, what is to be learned from the DSS, a survey of scholastic opinion regarding the relationship between the DSS and Qumran, and of course a great analysis of the Essene Jewish community at Qumran as reflected in the DSS. Furthermore, each individual text has an introduction describing its contents to the best of our understanding. It should be noted that this collection does not include the Biblical texts discovered in the caves around Qumran but does include everything else: the community's sectarian texts, apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts, commentaries on the Biblical texts, compositions written according to the themes of the Biblical texts, etc.

Vermes consolidates texts which feature many manuscripts and notes which manuscripts underlie which sections. The translation effectively communicates the meaning of the texts in English. Many of the texts demand some level of understanding of Second Temple Judaism, and this is where the introduction will prove quite helpful to the non-specialist.

This is a highly recommended translation of the DSS especially for those who are interested in learning more about them but are not specialists in the field. View all 3 comments. I read this a few years ago but from notes made at the time: I read the first article type bits of the book and then read a few of the translations and skimmed the rest as it was all the 'rule' of the Qumran order rather than alternate gospels etc which would've been more interesting.

As this is an old book published in I imagine knowledge has grown since then. I've read since that the scrolls were under tight ownership for a long time, and a full transcription was only issued in So th I read this a few years ago but from notes made at the time: I read the first article type bits of the book and then read a few of the translations and skimmed the rest as it was all the 'rule' of the Qumran order rather than alternate gospels etc which would've been more interesting. So that would explain why the book omits the more interesting aspects!

Also, they were poorly stored at various times so have deteriorated quite a bit which doesn't help matters. Perhaps it would be worth reading a more recent study at some point. First, I will admit, I did not read this entire book, I used this as a reference guide to accompany a lecture course I listened to from Great Courses on the Dead Sea Scrolls. As a reference book, this book is excellent. I did read the introduction which gives a background of the discovery and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The bulk of this book however, is the Translation of every Dead Sea Scroll that has been found to date. Each scroll has a caption, a brief explanation of the scroll and First, I will admit, I did not read this entire book, I used this as a reference guide to accompany a lecture course I listened to from Great Courses on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Each scroll has a caption, a brief explanation of the scroll and then the actual translation. Each scroll is labeled according to the number system i.

Missing parts or questioned parts are indicated with [ This book allows you to read along with famous scrolls like the War Scroll, The Words of Moses, the Treasure map of the Copper scrolls, Commentaries on Isaiah, Commentaries on the Psalms and much much more.

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There is so much detail and information in these scrolls, it is overwhelming. The book has a very well organized Table of Contents and Index that guides you to the scrolls about the particular Bible book or subject that you are interested in. This is certainly not a vacation reading book, but it is a valuable reference book that is fascinating.