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Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) [Paperback]

By James H. Charlesworth (Author)
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Item description for Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) by James H. Charlesworth...

From the time of their chance discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have stirred worldwide interest in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. This landmark volume makes sense of the controversy and debate surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls for the general reader.

Publishers Description
"In opposition to the popularistic simplifications of the many would-be scholarly books now on the market, this volume is a brilliant example of the best of international scholarship on Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls." H. Lichtenberger, Director, Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum

"Charlesworth's demonstration of a basic consensus is sound and salutary exactly because he presents a highly diverse group of major scholars who have reflected on how the Dead Sea Scrolls affect the understanding of Jesus and early Christianity." Krister Stendahl, Brandeis University

"The teachings of the Dead Sea sect (identified by most scholars with the Essenes) hardly left a trace in Judaism but bequeathed a significant legacy to Christianity. No history of Western civilization can ignore the relationship of Christianity to Essenism. This book is an important contribution to the elucidation of this relationship." Magen Broshi, Curator of the Shrine of the Book, the Israel Museum

"This volume reassures those disturbed by reports in the press, reassures them that scrolls research is virile, free, and immensely enriching for the understanding of first-century Judaism and Christian origins."W. D. Davies, Duke University

"These balanced and excellently documented discussions will go a long way in undermining some rather fanciful views which journalists and less critical and careful students of the matters under review have in recent years fed to the public."Shermaryahu Talmon, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Yale University Press
Pages   410
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.96"
Weight:   1.29 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1992
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300140177  
ISBN13  9780300140170  

Availability  99 units.
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More About James H. Charlesworth

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James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Director and Editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA.

Lee Martin McDonald is President Emeritus and Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Canada. He is also President of the Institute for Biblical Research.

Blake A. Jurgens is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, USA, and a Fulbright Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, Germany.


James H. Charlesworth has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  2. Dead Sea Scrolls
  3. Essential Guides
  4. Faith and Scholarship Colloquies
  5. Jewish and Christian Texts in Contexts and Related Studies
  6. Princeton-Prague Symposia Series on the Historical Jesus

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)?

Samson and Delilah of Wormwood  Jul 23, 2003
Samson and Delilah thru dead sea scrolls and religious artifacts as clues on Bible for Iraq
Good Dead Sea Scrolls Intoduction  May 27, 2002
This is a very good introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls. James Charlesworth is an amazing (and readable) scholar. I stumbled onto this while trying to learn more history about Jesus (reading David Flusser, N.T. Wright, Brad Young; didn't waste much time reading John Dominic Crossan). (I'm not formally trained in religion, not a minister). For a lay person trying to learn a lot about the Dead Sea Scrolls, this book is needed along with books by Lawrence Schiffman (Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls) and Hershel Shanks. With this collection, any lay person will know just about every major issue that is relevant.
helpful background to 1st century southern levant  Feb 4, 2000
Over the years, the Anchor Bible Reference Library (ABRL) has published an assortment of scholarly books on archeology in the Levant, Jewish history and the origins of Christianity. Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by James H. Charlesworth (©1992) is a nice addition to this series and certainly worthy of examination by any interested in the period of the first centuries BC and AD. This work, is a compilation of articles by renown scholars focusing on areas of commonalty and differences between the teachings of Jesus and the writings found in the caves of Qumrân.

For example, although some eschatological exegesis and scriptural preferences between Jesus and the Essene community at Qumrân can be catalogued, Jesus' ministry was also profoundly different from the Essenes, as well as different from other Jewish leaders including the Pharisees. The Essenes were exclusionary and ritualistic, Jesus demonstrated an inclination to accept all sincere followers. Jesus' parables could be comprehended by all (at least superficially), while the Dead Sea Scrolls are often noted for their obtuseness. The Essenes were even stricter with their interpretation of Mosaic law than the Pharisees. Jesus took a more liberal view on this matter. Yet both groups were devoted to prayer and both acknowledged "the Holy Spirit" (rwh hqws) as did other Jewish leaders.

Comparisons between Essene writings and the Torah abound. For example, Deuteronomy 21:22 commands that a capital offense be punished by death followed by hanging upon a tree for public display. However in the Temple Scroll, this sequence is reversed--the delinquent is to be hanged until death--i.e., crucifixion. Further comparison of symbolic references are made between Jesus and the Essenes. The Qumrân community placed great emphasis on sacrifice and atonement in the Temple at Jerusale--in fact, the Righteous Teacher referred to in many scrolls is thought by some scholars to have been a High Priest and a member of the Zadok family line. Jesus, on the other hand, regarded the Temple as a house of prayer and offered forgiveness outside of the temple cult. The scrolls prepared the community about the coming war against the "sons of darkness", while Jesus instructed his disciples to love their enemies--including Gentiles. The common meal for Essenes signified a conformity to purity rituals, while Christians came to accept this as an expression of Jesus' sacrifice. A later chapter comments on how Jesus saw the Temple and the taxes collected on its behalf as an oppression of the poor.

One item of concern for biblical scholars has been the apparent discrepancy between the synoptic gospels and the account in John regarding the Last Supper--the former indicate this was the Passover meal, while the latter synchronizes Jesus' death with the slaughter of the paschal lamb. Scholars have established that two liturgical calendars were in use in the first century--this may account for the scriptural difference. Another matter commented on was how Jesus regarded impurity. The Jewish society in the first century did not employ precise conceptual definitions but used norms based on law. Jesus considered persons to be defiled only by sin (against God), not by ritual.

Many contemporary researchers have suggested that Jesus did not recognize his divinity or messianic authority. This contention is swiftly dispatched in a chapter written by Charlesworth himself by examining the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-9, Luke 20:9-19) in which Jesus clearly intends to be identified as the landlord's murdered son. The chapter also includes an analysis on the hymns of the Righteous Teacher as a gardener of eternal planting. In the following chapter, Jesus' criticism of the Essenes is interpreted from the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-9) including a reference to the prudent economic contacts maintained by the worldly compared to the isolated "sons of light"--a term used by the Essenes to describe themselves. Additional chapters describe archeological investigations regarding the primitive Christian community in first century Jerusalem. A search for the room of the Last Supper is described along with the Essene quarter in the city. Another chapter describes the remains of a crucified man and clinical conclusions that can be drawn therefrom. The final chapter describes the tradition for the ascension of the risen Christ into heaven and the divinity ascribed to Jesus by Christians--according to John's gospel, Christ was logos, God's intermediary form and "light" for the world. This volume, therefore, is a treasure trove of background information for Christians seeking a more complete understanding of the era in which Christ ministered.


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