The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Judean desert between 1947 and 1956 was one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. These extraordinary manuscripts appear to have been hidden in the caves at Qumran by the Essenes, a Jewish sect in existence before and during the time of Jesus. Written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the scrolls have transformed our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism and the origins of Christianity. This is a fully revised edition of the classic translation by Geza Vermes, the world's leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar. It is now enhanced by much previously unpublished material and a new preface, and also contains a scroll catalogue and an index of Qumran texts.
Original publication date
Vermes was a great scholar, well-attuned to Rabbinic texts and thus the history of Judaism, and this is reflected in his treatment of the DSS. The introduction may be long but it is thorough, discussing the circumstances of the discovery of
It should be noted that this collection does not include the Biblical texts discovered in the caves around Qumran but does include everything else: the community's sectarian texts, apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts, commentaries on the Biblical texts, compositions written according to the themes of the Biblical texts, etc. Vermes consolidates texts which feature many manuscripts and notes which manuscripts underlie which sections.
The translation effectively communicates the meaning of the texts in English. Many of the texts demand some level of understanding of Second Temple Judaism, and this is where the introduction will prove quite helpful to the non-specialist.
This is a highly recommended translation of the DSS especially for those who are interested in learning more about them but are not specialists in the field.