This is a concise and well-written book by one of the leading experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls. John J. Collins, the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University, in the pref- ace notes that this book may seem an unlikely candidate for inclusion in a series on “biographies” of books. However, he comments that the Scrolls, although not a single book but a miscellaneous collection of writings from the caves near Qumran, is not an entirely random ac- cumulation of documents. Rather, Collins comments that they appear to reflect the thought of a Jewish sect, which many scholars identify as the Essenes, around the end of the first century B.C.E. to the early first century C.E. For this reason, the book, as Collins emphasizes, is an appropriate addition to the series “Lives of Great Religious Books.” This series aims to present short volumes that recount the histories of important religious texts from around the world.
Department of History
Original Publication Date
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