The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

Synopsis

The substantial value of the Dead Sea Scrolls for biblical studies is well known. However, it can be difficult to remain on the cutting edge of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship. In this volume leading expert James C. VanderKam offers detailed summaries of significant ways in which the scrolls can enrich the reading and study of the Bible. Each chapter brings readers up-to-date with the latest pivotal developments, focusing on relevant information from the scrolls and expounding their significance for biblical studies. This rich compendium from a distinguished scholar is essential reading for all who work at understanding biblical texts and their contexts within the ancient world.

Excerpt

Six of the seven chapters in The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible began as the Speaker’s Lectures at Oxford University, delivered during the first two weeks of May 2009. For the published form of the lectures, I have changed the first person address of the speeches to the third person, entered many minor alterations into the texts, and supported the statements in the texts with footnotes.

I am grateful to John Barton of Oriel College for the invitation to be the Speaker’s Lecturer. in the invitation he suggested that the lectures be devoted to topics in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I took that suggestion in a broad sense — surveying some of the many ways in which the scrolls enlighten one’s reading of the Bible, also understood in a broad sense as including the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament. in fact, the New Testament is an important resource for several of the chapters. This is a position it naturally occupies as a near-contemporary, largely Jewish witness to practices, procedures, beliefs, and debates in the late Second Temple period.

The purpose of the lectures themselves and also of their published form is to provide up-to-date, accessible overviews of major subjects in the area of the scrolls and the Bible, especially ones that have interested me over the last several decades. Each of them covers central topics in scrolls research and inquires about the significance of the data for material in the Bible. in particular, I have attempted to think through the implications of the scrolls for their time and in their contexts by asking questions such as: What is the information available, what are the problems connected with it, and what possibilities are raised by it? in approaching the areas covered in the lectures and now in the chapters of this book, I have drawn upon my . . .

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