Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

For a limited time you can order an electronic edition of all three volumes of James Charlesworth’s (ed.) The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls in Logos Bible Software for $99.95. Baylor University Press sells the hardcover edition of volume 3 for the same price. The Logos electronic edition is a great deal on a massive, high-quality collection of essays. These three volumes include over 1,200 pages of articles and almost 300 pages of bibliography and indices.
I’m frequently asked about how the Dead Sea Scrolls affect our understanding of the Bible, and this three volume set is one of the first places to which I point people. I’ll note just a couple articles from each volume. Volume 1 is subtitled “Scripture and the Scrolls.” If you are interested in the relationship between the DSS and the text of the OT, this volume will be helpful.  Frank Moore Cross writes on “The Biblical Scrolls from Qumran and the Canonical Text,” Sidnie White Crawford on “The Rewritten Bible at Qumran,” and J. J. M. Roberts has a very helpful article on “The Importance of Isaiah at Qumran.”

Volume 2, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran Community,” focuses on the content of the Scrolls themselves and ways in which the Scrolls contribute to our understanding of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. These articles cover important themes in the Scrolls such as the “two spirits” (John R. Levinson), dualism (Elisha Qimron), the Qumran understanding of “messiah” (John J. Collins), “covenant” (Moshe Weinfeld), the liturgical calendar (Shemaryahu Talmon), etc.

Volume 3 moves to “The Scrolls and Christian Origins.” Charlesworth discusses the thorny issues of the relationship between the DSS and John the Baptist. He concludes, somewhat provocatively,

There seems no reason to doubt that the Baptizer adopted at least some of the teachings of the Qumranites. He probably inherited at least the interpretation of Isa 40:3, the concept of the Holy Spirit, a belief in the impending doom of the end of time, and the concept of the lost as a brood of vipers. (35)

Adela Yarbro Collins writes about “The Dream of a New Jerusalem at Qumran,” and Craig A. Evans surveys issues related to “The Synoptic Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls.” This highlights just a fraction of the contents, but as you can see the contributors are major players in their respective fields.

I do not prefer to read monographs in a digital format, (unless the price is too good to pass up). Reference works and collections of articles are a different story. It is not too difficult to read 20 pages at a time on a computer screen, and the benefit of having easy access to your books far outweighs the disadvantages of reading e-books. The key factor determining how often I use a book is accessibility. In the Logos version of The Bible and Dead Sea Scroll the references to Scripture and the Scrolls will be hyperlinked and the full text of each volume will be easily searchable.

FYI: Logos also sells the handy two volume Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Martínez and Tigchelaar), which includes both transcriptions and translations of the non-biblical texts.