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The Dead Sea Scrolls

By: Gary A. Rendsburg,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Gary A. Rendsburg
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Publisher's Summary

Whether complete or only fragmentary, the 930 extant Dead Sea Scrolls irrevocably altered how we look at and understand the foundations of faith and religious practice. Now you can get a comprehensive introduction to this unique series of archaeological documents, and to scholars' evolving understanding of their authorship and significance, with these 24 lectures. Learn what the scrolls are, what they contain, and how the insights they offered into religious and ancient history came into focus.

In following the extraordinary story of how the scrolls were acquired and ultimately published - a story fully 40 years in its unfolding - you'll also explore an almost unlimited treasure trove of new facts and insights. Throughout the lectures, you'll learn about these and other topics: the only historical instance of the Jews ever forcibly converting a conquered people to Judaism; the rare stroke of scholarly fortune represented in the discovery of the first seven scrolls sealed in jars; and the extraordinary intrigue (sometimes spanning generations) that overlays the story of the scrolls.

At the heart of this series are the documents themselves. You'll spend a wealth of time reading parts of the actual scrolls in English translation, training your eye to uncover the salient religious practices and intriguing theological ideas expressed in these documents. By the conclusion of the final lecture, you'll have developed a newfound understanding and appreciation of an unprecedented historical find and its enduring influence on the way we think about - and talk about - ancient Judaism and Christianity.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

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Educational but quite dry

Incredibly detailed and immaculately sourced lectures which inform you of all that one could possibly question about the Qumran sect who stored the Dead Sea Scrolls. I would warn that if you do not already have a basic understanding of the history and real nature of the documents, outside of the pop-culture and sensationalised understanding of them which propagates society, then you may be shocked as to how dry and uncontroversial some of the information they express is outside of a scholarly context.

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3 people found this helpful

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good narrator and stories

very interesting and good to listen too, loved learning all the background stories as well as the content of the documents

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Brilliant!

What made the experience of listening to The Dead Sea Scrolls the most enjoyable?

I loved this series. The professor was most engaging and presented the information in a very clear and helpful manner. Would love to hear more from him on the DSS's.

What other book might you compare The Dead Sea Scrolls to, and why?

I loved all of Prof Flusser's books - they had some relation to the issues presented here.

Also liked 'Understanding the DSS' editor Herschel Shanks.

What does Professor Gary A. Rendsburg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Able to take in while commuting!

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3 people found this helpful

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Great listening

As they say .... you have the get to the end. And with this book I recommend that action. Great performance filled with knowledge and passion.
What inspired writing and listening. Loved it all!

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Ritual over philosophy

Prof. Rendsburg gives a good introduction to the Essenes and a comparative view of the theology of the Qumran group vs the Pharisees and Sadducees as well as Christians. He likes to use the word “fascinating”, and I would like to hear more about these items, such as the opposition views on life after death, angels, the role of the messiah in different Judaisms. What is meant by “purification” and how does impurity travel upstream? Is John the Baptist an Essene? I’d like to hear more about the apocalypse. I could easily listen to more. He’s a plain-speaker

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great introduction to DSS

loved this - I am an undergraduate in ancient near east history and have done three subjects on Hebrew. This was a riveting introduction to the DSS from someone with very little prior knowledge of the subject.

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Great lecture

This is greater lecture for someone who wants to know about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Very Biased

Not what I was hoping. Very biased toward Judaism. I was hoping for a more balanced historical analysis.

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