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The Dead Sea Scrolls:
A Biography
John J. Collins

Book Description | Table of Contents
Preface [in PDF format]


"In his short, sharp, snappy 'biography', [Collins] rehearses all the various theories on the scrolls, separates the wheat from the chaff, and brings light to the darkness. This is not simply a digest. Collins takes our hand and guides us to oh-so-reasonable conclusions."--Peter Stanford, The Independent

"The scrolls have had the experts fighting over them like cats in a sack, but for the rest of us, they are of curiosity value only. . . . These stories of backbiting and backstabbing make Collin's book a feast for the eyes."--Nigel Nelson, Tribune (U.K.)

"The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography is an important contribution because Collins analyzes and summarizes the essence, content and problematic aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their scholars. . . . In today's politicized world of academia, unfortunately, the Jewish context and content of the Scrolls and the site and the Jewish world of Jesus and his disciples must be restated and demonstrated constantly. Accordingly, John Collins' book contributes to debunking fraudulent political claims against the presence of Jews and the very essence of Jewish history and Jewish religion in the Land of Israel."--Rivkah Fishman-Duker, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

"Collins writes in a clear and precise style. . . . Here he addresses the different interpretations presented by scholars, providing a good summary of historical debate about the Scrolls."--Choice

"This series contains the latest scholarship about a specific subject, gives great opportunity for acquiring a limited but significant amount of knowledge, and enthuses readers to go into it in much more detail."--Charles H. Middleburgh, Charles Middleburgh Blog

"In sum, this is an excellent introduction to a complex subject, lucid and remarkably irenic."--Roger S. Bagnall, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"[A]nyone seeking a short introduction to the Scrolls could do a lot worse than to look in this direction. They will learn an enormous amount quite effortlessly in a small space of time, being thoroughly diverted in the process. They will be assisted by excellent indices and judicious short bibliographies."--Tessa Rajak, Journal of Jewish Studies

"The entire book is skillfully structured to reflect its theme. . . . [Collins] seems particularly at home, and writes with relish and refreshing honesty. . . [Readers] will learn an enormous amount quite effortlessly in a small space of time, being thoroughly diverted in the process."--Tessa Rajak, Journal of Jewish Studies


"This is a marvelously readable, informative, and reliable general introduction to everything associated with Qumran, and provides valuable insights into the impact of the scrolls on the Bible, ancient Judaism, and budding Christianity. It is highly recommended as one of the best guides for anyone wishing to approach the greatest Hebrew manuscript discovery of modern times."--Geza Vermes, professor emeritus of Jewish studies, University of Oxford

"This up-to-date and concise handbook introduces readers to profound discussions of theological, historical, and canonical issues, and to the savory details and gossip surrounding the discovery and publication of the scrolls. Written in Collins's original, witty style, the book is a must for anyone who wants to learn about the scrolls, novice and specialist alike."--Emanuel Tov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, former editor in chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project

"This book is right up to date, and is written by a scholar who has been at the very center of scrolls scholarship for several decades. What sets it apart is Collins's expert and sensible analysis of the theories scholars have crafted about the Dead Sea Scrolls in the sixty-five years since they were first discovered."--James C. VanderKam, author of The Dead Sea Scrolls Today

"This is an excellent introduction to the scrolls and a great read. Collins has a distinctive perspective and voice, and writes lucidly and engagingly. His well-known scholarly judiciousness is everywhere in evidence--a virtue in short supply in some areas of scrolls study. There is no other volume that does quite what this one does."--Philip Alexander, author of The Mystical Texts: Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice and Related Manuscripts

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File created: 4/24/2017

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