Today’s Dead Sea Scrolls Today

Dead Sea Scrolls Today
James VanderKam

A revised edition of James VanderKam’s excellent introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls is making its way to retailers. This new edition “retains the format, style, and aims of the first edition, and the same wider audience is envisaged” (xii). Consequently, this edition includes five primary categories of changes (xii–xiii):

  1. Updates to VanderKam’s 1994 first edition that account for developments in scrolls publication and research over the past 16 years,
  2. More extensive chapter bibliographies,
  3. An added section about the scrolls’ witness to other Second Temple Judaisms,
  4. Numerous rephrasings of the text, and
  5. Revised quotations of the scrolls to reflect Vermes’s Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (5th ed).

According to Eerdmans,

The premier Dead Sea Scrolls guidebook for general readers ever since its original publication in 1994, James VanderKam’s Dead Sea Scrolls Today won the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Publication Award in 1995 for the Best Popular Book on Biblical Archaeology. In this expanded and updated edition the book will continue to illuminate the greatest archaeological find in modern times.


In this post:

James VanderKam
James VanderKam
Dead Sea Scrolls Today
James VanderKam
Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English
Geza Vermes

Two New Dead Sea Scrolls Resources from Brill

Brill recently released the following two new resources for Dead Sea Scroll studies:

Biblical Texts from Qumran and Other Sites (Dead Sea Scrolls Concordance, Volume 3)

Biblical Texts from Qumran and Other Sites
Martin Abegg Jr.
According to the publisher,

For decades a concordance of all the Dead Sea Scrolls has been a major desideratum for scholarship. The Dead Sea Scrolls Concordance covers all the Qumran material as published in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, as well as the major texts from caves 1 and 11, which appeared elsewhere.

This keyword-in-context concordance, prepared by Martin G. Abegg in collaboration with other scholars, contains a new and consistent linguistic analysis of all the words found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The total number of entries is around 134,000. Every entry includes the keyword with its context, exactly as published in the editions referred to above, with notes on some readings. All keywords have an English translation, and they are listed in alphabetical order rather than by verbal root, which makes the concordance easier to consult for the non-specialist.

Revised Lists of the Texts from the Judaean Desert

Revised Lists
Emmanuel Tov
According to the publisher,

Many details in the inventory list of the texts found in the Judaean Desert have altered since their initial publication by E. Tov in DJD XXXIX (2002) 27–114. Such changes were inserted in some twenty-five percent of the lines of the database, and this information is now presented to the public at the end of the publication procedure of the DJD series. The updating reflects corrections made to imprecisely recorded details, the data published in the last DJD volumes, inscribed archeological evidence not recorded previously, new fragments, changed names, new identifications and arrangements of fragments, updated bibliography, etc. The volume also contains an updated version of the categorized list of biblical texts from the various sites in the Judaean Desert.

New Reference Works from OUP

The following two reference works are recently published or forthcoming from Oxford University Press, albeit with rather hefty, retail price tags:

Roger Bagnall
Roger Bagnall
Publisher’s Summary: Thousands of texts, written over a period of three thousand years on papyri and potsherds, in Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, and other languages, have transformed our knowledge of many aspects of life in the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology provides an introduction to the world of these ancient documents and literary texts, ranging from the raw materials of writing to the languages used, from the history of papyrology to its future, and from practical help in reading papyri to frank opinions about the nature of the work of papyrologists. This volume, the first major reference work on papyrology written in English, takes account of the important changes experienced by the discipline within especially the last thirty years.
Including new work by twenty-seven international experts and more than one hundred illustrations, The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology will serve as an invaluable guide to the subject.
Michael Gagarin
Michael Gagarin
Publisher’s Summary: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome is the clearest and most accessible guide to the world of classical antiquity ever produced. This multivolume reference work is a comprehensive overview of the major cultures of the classical Mediterranean world—Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman—from the Bronze Age to the fifth century CE. It also covers the legacy of the classical world and its interpretation and influence in subsequent centuries. The Encyclopedia brings the work of the best classical scholars, archaeologists, and historians together in an easy-to-use format.
The articles, written by leading scholars in the field, seek to convey the significance of the people, places, and historical events of classical antiquity, together with its intellectual and material culture. Broad overviews of literature, history, archaeology, art, philosophy, science, and religion are complimented by articles on authors and their works, literary genres and periods, historical figures and events, archaeologists and archaeological sites, artists and artistic themes and materials, philosophers and philosophical schools, scientists and scientific areas, gods, heroes, and myths.

New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Three recent, Brill publications on the intersections between the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls include:

Florentino García Martínez
Florentino García Martínez

Publisher’s Summary: In spite of the amount of literature on the relationship between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, no consensus among the scholars has emerged as yet on how to explain both the similarities and the differences among the two corpora of religious writings. This volume contains a revised form of the contributions to an “experts meeting” held at the Catholic University of Leuven on December 2007 dedicated to explore the relationship among the two corpora and to understand both the commonalities and the differences between the two corpora from the perspective of the common ground from which both corpora have developed: the Hebrew Bible.

Ruth Clements and Daniel Schwartz
Ruth Clements and Daniel Schwartz

Publisher’s Summary: The 13 papers comprising this volume represent the fruits of the first Orion Center Symposium devoted to the comparison of the Dead Sea and early Christian texts. The authors reject the older paradigm which configured the similarities between Qumran and early Christian literature as evidence of “influence” from one upon the other. They raise fresh methodological possibilities by asking how insights from each of these two corpora illuminate the other, and by considering them as parallel evidence for broader currents of Second Temple Judaism. Topics addressed include specific exegetical and legal comparisons; prophecy, demonology, and messianism; the development of canon and the rise of commentary; and possible connections between the Gospel of John and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Albert Hogeterp
Albert Hogeterp

Publisher’s Summary: Since a fuller range of Qumran sectarian and not clearly sectarian texts and recensions has recently become available to us, its implications for the comparative study of eschatological, apocalyptic and messianic ideas in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the New Testament need to be explored anew. This book situates eschatological ideas in Qumran literature between biblical tradition and developments in late Second Temple Judaism and examines how the Qumran evidence on eschatology, resurrection, apocalypticism, and messianism illuminates Palestinian Jewish settings of emerging Christianity. The present study challenges previous dichotomies between realized and futuristic eschatology, wisdom and apocalypticism and provides many new insights into intra-Jewish dimensions to eschatological ideas in Palestinian Judaism and in the early Jesus-movement.

The Deliverance of God

Douglas Campbell
Douglas Campbell

Douglas Campbell’s new book, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul, has come to publication at Eerdmans. The publisher’s description reports that:

In this scholarly book Douglas Campbell pushes beyond both “Lutheran” and “New” perspectives on Paul to a noncontractual, “apocalyptic” reading of many of the apostle’s most famous-and most troublesome-texts.

Campbell holds that the intrusion of an alien, essentially modern, and theologically unhealthy theoretical construct into the interpretation of Paul has produced an individualistic and contractual construct that shares more with modern political traditions than with either orthodox theology or Paul’s first-century world. In order to counteract that influence, Campbell argues that it needs to be isolated and brought to the foreground before the interpretation of Paul’s texts begins. When that is done, readings free from this intrusive paradigm become possible and surprising new interpretations unfold.

For a list of other biblioblogs that have already picked up on the work, please see the Complete List of Biblioblogs Google search.