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The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls

By James VanderKam & Peter Flint

     James VanderKam and Peter Flint have put together a very meaningful book concerning the relevance and meanings of the Dead Sea Scrolls that should be read by everyone who is tied to the great religions and the faiths. It was a very hard, arduous read for me, as I am not that deeply versed in religion and have only a basic lay person's understanding, if that, of the major religions. I learned a great deal about the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, and will think about the findings in this book possibly for years to come. The subject has always fascinated me in a far-off manner, and seemed worth delving into, but not enough for me to sit in on scholarly discussions of the fundamentals of all the world's religions.

     This book is very deep and takes a long while to digest and thoroughly take in all that is given. I found it to be more than I could readily just sit down and read without having to check and recheck several times some of the information, because of the lack of my own understandings. Overall, I would say that the information is probably very near correct and truthful, given what is known about the whole subject and the various religions. However, I do not have a way to readily substantiate any of it without going in to talk to the people in-the-know who have spent their lives learning to understand what is written in this book. Either that, or take it at face value and hope that all of the information inside the covers is beyond reproach, which is what I am doing. I do not have the expertise to do any other thing or make any other decision. Because of that lacking in my religious upbringing, I am at a disadvantage in this very deep subject. However, I did find this book amazing and informative. The Carbon Dating protocols and the discussion of the site at Qumran and the Controversies of the Dead Sea Scrolls were more interesting to me, as I am particularly keen on those items.

     The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls is well written, very articulate and truly a revelation in many ways. There are many Tables and Exhibits that help to explain to the reader what the book is trying to show and prove, which helps immensely.

     A thought-provoking book that makes one think and look deep into their own trainings to find what their truths are. It makes the reader more open-minded to the historical aspects that we base who we are and where we stand in our daily lives, and leaves the reader/scholar wanting to understand more.

The Book

Harper San Francisco / Harper Collins Publishers
Nonfiction / History / Biblical History
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NOTE: Winner of the Biblical Archaeology Society Best Book of the Year Award

The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2005
© 2005