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The Dead Sea Scrolls - Revised Edition: A New Translation [Paperback]

Michael Wise
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2005

This landmark work from three of the most-noted Dead Sea Scrolls scholars brings the ancient scrolls of Qumran vividly to life. Translating and deciphering virtually every legible portion of the fragmented scrolls, Michael Wise, Martin Abegg Jr., and Edward Cook provide pointed commentary throughout the text that places the scrolls in their true historical context. In their compelling, insightful introduction, they not only present an overview of the often surprising contents of the scrolls, but also discuss what is perhaps their greatest mystery: who authored them and why.

This revised-and-updated edition incorporates newly available translations of many of the texts (most notably Enoch and Jubilees), updated introductions to all the texts, and a new introduction summarizing the last ten years of the Dead Sea Scrolls exploration.

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The Dead Sea Scrolls - Revised Edition: A New Translation + The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume
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From Publishers Weekly

In 1946, the world of biblical studies was rocked by the discovery of several scrolls in caves around the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea Scrolls contained translations of portions of the books of the Hebrew scriptures, a manual of discipline for the community responsible for producing the scrolls and a scroll that narrated an apocalyptic battle between the sons of light, led by a figure called the Teacher of Righteousness, and the sons of darkness. These documents gave biblical scholars a tantalizing glimpse of the then relatively unknown period of first-century Judaism and of the theology of at least one of its sects. Very quickly, though, the ownership of the scrolls became a point of great political contention between the Israeli government and American scholars like Frank Moore Cross at Harvard, and, consequently, translations of the scrolls appeared very slowly, if at all. Finally, in 1991, author Martin Abegg, then a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, published a volume of previously unreleased scrolls. Following this publication, the Huntington Library announced that it had photographs of all the unreleased scrolls and that it would allow unrestricted access to the photos. Wise, Abegg and Cook's collection is now the most complete collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls available. The authors' English translations capture the nuances of the Hebrew, and sometimes the Greek, of the scrolls, many of which are merely fragments. Also contained here is a thorough introduction to the history of the discovery of the scrolls and a theory about the community that produced the scrolls: the authors convincingly argue that the Essenes, to whom the scrolls are traditionally attributed, were likely not the community responsible for writing the scrolls. For all interested in learning from primary texts about the development of first-century Judaism, this is an essential volume
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Wise (The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, LJ 2/1/93) and his team of scholars and writers occupy what might be called the minority position in scrolls scholarship: The Qumran group cannot be identified simply as "Essenes," the site itself was not a headquarters, and few if any of the scrolls were written at Qumran. The position of Wise et al., in contrast with the "Standard Model" (as they call it), is set forth in a brief introduction along with the usual information about the discovery and publication of the scrolls. One of the most helpful things these translators do for nonspecialist readers is to explain the process of manuscript reconstruction and the use of brackets and parentheses to indicate missing portions of text and the like. The translations themselves are generally more idiomatic and less stiff than those in Florentino G. Martinez's The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated (Eerdmans, 1996. 2d ed.). As the fruit of an alternative approach to the origins and significance of the scrolls, and as a smooth translation, this work should be in collections where there is scholarly and popular interest.?Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Birmingham
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how this book stacks up Jan. 30 2003
This book needs to be considered alongside _The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated_ edited by Florentino Garcia-Martinez. Both are "comprehensive" translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls which have become available since the end of the embargo in the fall of 1991.
Wise, Abegg, and Cook organize this book primarily by the Qumran manuscript number. The exceptions are the manuscripts found in Cave 1 which have no number. These appear at the beginning of the book along with other manuscripts which relate to the same text. So for example, the Thanksgiving Scroll appears at the beginning of the book along with 4Q427-432. The Damascus Document also appears at the beginning of this book along with manuscripts Geniza A and B.
At the end of the book there is a helpful index of DSS manuscripts and the page(s) on which they may be found. There is also an index of references to other liturature, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and Rabbinic texts. So for example the editors find some connection between 4Q525 and Matthew 5.3-10. Both are beatitudes.
It is not a disadvantage of this book that it contains no Hebrew texts. I find that I want to look at photos of the manuscripts and judge the translations for myself. Nor is it a disadvantage of this book that it does not contain any biblical texts. Those may be found in a translated form in Martin Abegg's _Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_.
The advantage this book does have is its commentary. The editors have brought numerous significant items to the the attention of the reader which the non-specialist probably had not noticed. Even so, the commentary will bring some enlightenment to DSS specialists as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Honest Resource Oct. 30 2002
This volume is an excellent book to either start or enhance one's study of the scrolls discovered near Qumran, commonly referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Although there has been some negative critique, (see other reviews) this book is very unbiased and scholarly in nature. Yes, there is an added commentary, and words filled in where there were no words preserved, but that is besides the fact. There has been no cover-up attempt to claim that these added texts are somehow the original; a guide at the beginning of the book clearly explains how to see what was actually contained in the scrolls and what was not. The commentary is necessary especially for those who have never looked in the scrolls at all to begin with, to at least give a basic framework. By nature, any commentary will have a level of bias - but it's not as though the book claims to have an inspired commentary - ignore the commentary if you're solely interested in the text!
I have had Dr. Wise for several graduate-level classes, and he has been very scholarly in his teaching, presenting the information that is known, and only on rare occasion giving his actual opinion instead of simply what has been discovered. His area of specialty is the Second Temple period in which the Dead Sea Scrolls play a significant role, which is one reason why he is so involved with them, and why this particular volume is so well written: it from the perspective of one who really cares about the issues surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
I would recommend this volume to anyone as a fascinating source for study.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, Not Biased. Don't Miss the Point June 17 2002
[...] These texts were not filled in. The point is-this is what the texts say! The parallels in terminology and phraseology are astounding. These are the texts that the early Christian writers of the New Testament were familiar with. Though the New Testament gospels may be reedited and reworked documents of the 4th century, they were still largely born in phrase and genre, from these writings. These Jews were most likely the Jews who gave rise to the Christians. These Jews used a different calendar than the Pharisees, the solar rather than the lunar calendar. There is an ancient Christian writing called the Didache which begins with a piece called "The Two Ways," there is a scroll fragment of the same title, and on and on. It would be insane to attempt to bury these facts in the name of some perverse political correctness.
So many long held beliefs about the origins of Christian ideology have been attributed to Greco-Roman influence. We now know this wasn't the case. These early Christians were Jewish, not the Jews we know today, for the Pharisees were the only sect left in numbers great enough to route history after the great slaughters by the Romans at Masada and Qumran. These freedom fighters that were massacred are our scroll writers or carriers as some of the writings were from earlier centuries. These people were all but forgotten and unknown until their writings and sacred texts were found in these caves around Qumran.
This brings us to the next point I would like to make as to why you should have and read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good resource (with reservations) June 12 2001
In reading "James the Brother of Jesus" by Robert Eisenman, I found that I needed a translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I chose this edition over Vermes, who makes use of pseudo-biblical archaic language in his translations, because the language in Wise is clear and modern, and the introductions are excellent. My reservation is due to a puzzling ediorial decision: there are no informative headers on the pages to let the reader know at a glance which scroll is being looked at, particularly annoying in the longer scrolls. What is gained by inconviencing the the reader?
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