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The Dead Sea Scrolls | [The Great Courses]

The Dead Sea Scrolls

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.
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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (86 )
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  •  
    John PICKERINGTON, OH, United States 12-06-13
    John PICKERINGTON, OH, United States 12-06-13 Member Since 2014

    ND John

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Well Done & Not One Sided"
    Where does The Dead Sea Scrolls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoy the series as contained in "The Great Courses" series. Of course some of the presentations are better than others. The Dead Sea Scrolls is the best of the many I have purchased.


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

    I have always had an interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I admit that I sort of expected a tinge of Jewish Religion flavor in this course but there was none. A very scholally & honest presentation. Really well done.


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

    This gifted Professor is one I will follow. He is on the side of pure Accidemics. A pleasure to listen to & he has really helped me understand the value of this 1947 discovery. I am not Jewish but this course has greatly helped me to understand ancient thought & practice. The Professor would be a person I'd love to have a coffee with! An honest person! ND John


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Greatest Find of the 20th Century Explained.


    Any additional comments?

    I bow my head towards Professor Rendsburg. He has handled a very difficult subject very objectfully. Thank You, ND John

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 09-25-13
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 09-25-13 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luís 11-15-14
    Luís 11-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Clarke Washington DC 06-17-15
    M. Clarke Washington DC 06-17-15

    Attackgirl

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    "Excellent presentation"

    I would have like to have a classroom lecture of this material complete with books / references now all I can do is go look it up. Thank you

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dayyoung Hoover, AL, United States 05-27-15
    dayyoung Hoover, AL, United States 05-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good listen"

    You could tell he knew the information he presented. He made it come to life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Dublin, Ireland 03-10-15
    Anthony Dublin, Ireland 03-10-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dead Sea scrolls"

    Great, informative and well presented well narrated and an engaging listen that was riveting from start to end. Well worth

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BBraun Topock, AZ, United States 01-15-15
    BBraun Topock, AZ, United States 01-15-15 Member Since 2010

    Betty B

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Have Listened to it twice"

    Listening to this book was amazing- I listened to it twice. It gave me many insights into the scrolls. I am very much hooked on "The Great Courses" series. Professor Rendsburg is very easy to listen to and one can hear his passion for his subject.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Leesburg, FL, USA 11-09-13
    Cindy Leesburg, FL, USA 11-09-13 Member Since 2003

    I am on the young side of being older, but nonetheless - wiser.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ever wonder about them?"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not meant to be listened to in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a college course. You will be entering a classroom. I loved it! Learning should never stop because we grow up.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Stephenodonnell
    6/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What an amazing story told by a global authority"

    I chose this book to learn about the foundation stones of many of the worlds religions. I achieved that plus learned to much about the history of the region and thinking of the people. Utterly captivating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    3/29/15
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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