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The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Geza Vermes(Author)

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From the world's leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Geza Vermes' The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls is an ideal introduction to understanding these ancient documents.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran, between 1947 and 1956, was one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and hidden in caves by an ancient Jewish sect, these mysterious manuscripts revolutionized our understanding of the Bible, of Judaism and the early Christian world.

Geza Vermes's English translations brought these extraordinary documents to thousands, and his life has been inextricably interwoven with the scrolls for over sixty years.

In The Story of the Scrolls, Vermes relates the controversial story of their discovery and publication around the world, revealing cover-ups, blunders and academic in-fighting, but also the passion and dedication of many of those involved. He shares what he has learned about the scrolls and, evaluating passages from them, gives his views on their true significance and what they can teach us, as well as those areas where scholarly consensus has not yet been reached.

'The world's leading Gospel scholar'
  The Times

'Vermes has the rare gift of wearing his immense scholarship lightly'
  David Goldberg, Independent

Geza Vermes is director of the Forum for Qumran Research at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. His books, published by Penguin, include The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English and The Changing Faces of Jesus as well as the 'Jesus' trilogy: Nativity, Passion and Resurrection.

Vermes has the rare gift of wearing his immense scholarship lightly (David Goldberg Independent)

3.5 (4595)
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Book details

  • PDF | 272 pages
  • Geza Vermes(Author)
  • Penguin (4 Feb. 2010)
  • English
  • 8
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By Gregory Franklin on 30 April 2010

    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.

  • By Cardew Robinson on 5 August 2011

    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.

  • By Mr. D. R. Goodman on 17 February 2014

    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.

  • By S. G. Raggett on 9 June 2014

    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.

  • By StephenMB on 30 April 2010

    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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