Editor reviews

The Dead Sea Scrolls is a historical audiobook by The Great Courses in their Comparative & World Religion Series and is narrated by leader in Jewish Studies, Professor Gary A. Rendsburg. This was one of the most significant archaeological finds in human history. The Dead Sea Scrolls' discovery and translation has provided profound insight into the history of ancient Judaism, Christianity and the way of life for ancient civilisations. In these 24 lectures, listeners are given unprecedented knowledge of everything the discovery of these scrolls has come to mean to our understanding of ancient times. Available now from Audible.
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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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Regular price: £32.79

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jonathan on 29-03-15

Excellent: Much More Than The Dead Sea Scrolls

I had some misgivings about a whole lecture course on the Dead Sea Scrolls but my concerns were unfounded. A significant amount of the course involves very clear presentations of relevant parts of ancient history, a discussion of ancient Jewish sects etc -- which I found very helpful and very interesting even though I had encountered most of the material before in previous courses I have listened to. Professor Rendsburg is clearly deeply fascinated by and enthusiastic about the Dead Sea Scrolls and this comes through very clearly. The presentation is peppered with personal anecdotes which worked well for me in making this topic accessible. The course interweaves background, archeological information and historical background with detailed discussions of specific scrolls, and this back-and-forth kept my interest level very high. I found the course compelling and fascinating and recommend it highly. As for all of the Great Courses, I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site which contains more detail on course content including titles of each lecture -- and additional reviews.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By craig on 09-05-18

very informative and interesting

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either history or in religion. the topics covered set the Dead Sea Scrolls in the context nicely. I feel it doesn't matter if you are a complete novice to the atopic or have some good understanding you can learn a lot from these lectures

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jacobus on 25-09-13

A comprehensive overview of the Qumran Scrolls

While not as focussed as his course on the 'book of Genesis' (probably because of this study field being vast) Prof. Gary A. Rensburg does a splendid job in introducing the Dead Sea Scrolls in 24 lectures aimed at those who are almost ignorant of this material.

He covers various aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls, from how and when it was found, to its ancient history, its significance and contributions to especially Old Testament/ Tanach scholarship as well as halackhic (Jewish law) issues. Prof. Rendsburg represents and presents the majority view of scholars throughout this course. In lecture 12 he engages with significant as well as sensational alternative views and claims that have surfaced over the years. The course is structured around all of the important Dead Sea Scrolls and Prof. Rendsburg often quotes and discuss these scrolls' content.

A great strength that is sometimes absent from similar introductions is the bird's eye-view of everyday life at Qumran that Prof. Rendsburg provides. On the other hand he significantly downplays the controversy that surrounded the scrolls since its discovery.

When comparing this course to a similar course in the 'Modern Scholar Series' presented by Prof. Lawrence Schiffman, I find that the two courses covers almost the same content with different accents often complementing each other. Because both scholars are Jewish, it does seem that their focus and I presume passion, is more on the Jewish significance of the scrolls. Prof. Schiffman seems to have a better grasp on the New Testament and how the Dead Sea Scrolls enlightens it. On the other hand Prof. Rendsburg's presentation is more polished than Prof. Schiffman's. I would suggest for someone interested in the Scrolls also to obtain Prof. John J Collin's 'The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography.'

If you are interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls and want an comprehensive overview, this course comes highly recommended.

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41 of 44 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Luís on 15-11-14

Deep dive into one of the most intriguing subjects

Where does The Dead Sea Scrolls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best one from three that I've already listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dead Sea Scrolls?

There were many of them, especially the ones when the historical facts from the discovery of those manuscripts were linked with some profound changes to the "mainstream academic knowledge" of the times around the dates of the writings that were found and studied through the lectures. The readings of the translation of some of the texts were very insightful, they gave a sense of freedom of interpretation to the listeners, but still managed to present the scholar point of view of the author.

Have you listened to any of Professor Gary A. Rendsburg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

That was my first listening of Professor Rendsburg, and I intend to listen to more of his classes, if available!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Well, not really, because of the extension of the material being over 12 hours. In fact, I believe that I've listened to about 18-20 hours, because I repeated sometimes a whole lecture that was too fascinating to be stuck to only one hearing...

Any additional comments?

My best purchase to the date!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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