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Introductions to the DSS

There are a number of good introductions to the Dead Sea Scrolls. While something is not necessarily better just because it is newer, when it comes to the works published on the Scrolls, this is most definitely the case. Older introductions were working with an incomplete picture since many of the manuscripts were not identified or published.

Some more recent introductions include the following:

  • David Noel Freedman and Pam Fox Kuhlken, What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Why Do They Matter? (Eerdmans, 2007). This brief introduction is great for the uninitiated. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Eileen Schuller, The Dead Sea Scrolls: What Have We Learned 50 Years On? (SCM, 2006). This excellent work by a Canadian scrolls scholar traces the recent history of scrolls scholarship decade by decade. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Intro to the DSSJames VanderKam and Peter Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity (HarperCollins, 2004). This is a popular introduction to the Scrolls written by two scholars who have been at the very centre of scroll research. I have used it as a textbook for my university Dead Sea Scrolls course, and my students found it very readable and well-researched. It is also one of the most recent introductions available. I highly recommend it. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com.
  • James VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, Revised Edition (Eerdmans, 2009). This is one of the best introductions to the Scrolls. The revised edition brings it up-to-date. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Complete World of the DSSPhilip R. Davies, George J. Brooke, and Phillip R. Callaway, The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Thames & Hudson, 2002). This is a beautifully illustrated and accessible account of the issues surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls. It contains numerous fact files, reconstructions, scroll photographs, and a wealth of other illustrations. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Hartmut Stegemann, The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus (Eerdmans, 1998). This is another highly recommended introduction; Stegemann's theory of the Qumran library is brilliant. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Edward M. Cook, Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Zondervan, 1994). A very good popular introduction to the Scrolls. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Joseph A. Fitzmyer, A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature (Eerdmans, 2008). This is more of an annotated bibliography to scrolls research, than an introduction, though it is indespensible for anyone wanting to delve into the scrolls. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Paulist, 1992). A popular introduction to the Scrolls organized in a question and answer format, including their contents, significance, and recent developments about them. Written by an expert who has worked on the scrolls from the beginning. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Lawrence Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls (Anchor Bible Reference Library; Doubleday, 1995). This is an excellent introduction to the significance of the Scrolls from a Jewish perspective. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
  • Florentino García Martínez and Julio Trebolle Barrera, The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Writings, Beliefs and Practices (Brill, 1995). Another excellent introduction to the Scrolls. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 12:46