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Publisher's Summary

A major new work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest sacred documents of Judaism, which reveals their surprising connections to early Christianity.

"A luminous treatment of a fascinating subject! Highly recommended!" (Scott Hahn, author of The Fourth Cup)

From award-winning scholar John Bergsma comes an intriguing audiobook that reveals new insights on the Essenes, a radical Jewish community predating Christianity, whose existence, beliefs, and practices are often overlooked in the annuls of history. Bergsma reveals how this Jewish sect directly influenced the beliefs, sacraments, and practices of early Christianity and offers new information on how Christians lived their lives, worshiped, and eventually went on to influence the Roman Empire and Western civilization. Looking to Hebrew scripture and Jewish tradition, Bergsma helps to further explain how a simple Jewish peasant could go on to inspire a religion and a philosophy that still resonates 2,000 years later.

In this enriching and exciting exploration, Bergsma demonstrates how the Dead Sea Scrolls - the world's greatest modern archaeological discovery - can shed light on the church as a sacred society that offered hope, redemption, and salvation to its member. Ultimately, these mysterious writings are a time machine that can transport us back to the ancient world, deepen our appreciation of Scripture, and strengthen our understanding of the Christian faith.

"An accessible introduction.... This is a handy entry point for readers unfamiliar with Essenes or those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls." (Publishers Weekly)

©2019 John Bergsma (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Dead Sea Scrolls give us a window into the thought of first-century Jews such as Jesus and the disciples. Through that window we see the continuity between the Old Testament and the New. The New is not a novelty. An expert on the Scrolls, Dr. Bergsma shows us how the texts and rituals of the Qumran community illuminate the New Covenant sacraments and Christian liturgy as we know it today." (Scott Hahn, author of The Fourth Cup)

 

"John Bergsma has provided the missing link between the assembly of the Old Testament and the Church of the New Testament. Read this book and you’ll see the Gospels and the sacraments more vividly than ever before. You’ll understand your place in history and in God’s people. If you read just one book about first-century Judaism, let it be this one." (Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church)

"Since the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947, there have been countless books written about them. But there is nothing quite like what John Bergsma has done in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls. If you have any interest whatsoever in the Jewish roots of Christianity, then buy this book! It will radically transform the way you see Jesus, Judaism, and the origins of Christianity." (Brant Pitre, author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist)

What listeners say about Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

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Excellent

Excellent work! This is a very useful book for anyone interested in New Testament studies or Apologetics.

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excellent

...but would like to hear less information in parentheses (biblical and scroll locations) and just stick to story/information being recited. overall -very well done.

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Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book! Excellent! Interesting!

I always enjoy listening to John Bergsma because he is not only a great scholar but he has a very fun and interesting teaching style. I really enjoyed this subject and the material was interesting and fresh!

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Fascinating and thought provoking

This work had quite a few startling insights into the old covenant practices and the New Testament fulfillments found in the early Church period and contemporary practices. I've heard about the Essene community found at Qumran, responsible for the dead sea scrolls, but hadn't known too much about them. This is a great place to broaden your knowledge base about not only that community, then scroll, and Old Testament Judaism, but about what and how beliege understand Christianity today. Excellent.

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Outstanding introduction to the Scrolls!

I would recommend this book to any Christian who is committed to understanding the Bible especially the four Gospels and the book of acts. This book gives you a needed, yet missing component of first century Judaism in and around Judea.

The theology of the Essenes itself, the reality of the “camps of the Essenes” as respected rivals to Pharisaical Synagogues throughout the Empire, as well as knowledge of the Essene quarter in Jerusalem really opens up the gospels and gives a greater historical appreciation of the early church. It is fascinating to hear the echoes of Christ teaching in the teacher of righteousness, showing there really is a vital connection between the old and the new covenants.

Finally, this book is worth its cost in the second to last chapter alone on the famous phrase found in Romans and Galatians: “works of the law“. The fact that this phrase of Saint Paul’s is also a phrase of Essene theology is fascinating.

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Incredible!

John Bergsma uses his usual in-depth scholarly approach to take a deep dive into the dead sea scrolls, their relationship to the Jewish practices of the day, and the light they shed on Christianity. He manages to take complex theological points and break them down so they are easily understood. Just beautiful, as always.

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Clarify's terms and words inside the Bible

Many times, terms and words appear in the Bible that may seem derogatory today are actually not. The term Jews is in reference to not only a group of people that followed a specific calendar in time but also lived in a separate area of the region and celebrated passover at a different time of the year and at a different day of the week. Jesus and his followers are from Galilea (north of Jerusalem) and not Judea (south of Jerusalem). Those two groups used different calendars and followed there own separate religious practices and dates and days of the week when those occurred. This is just one clarification that opens up the Bible is ways you would never be able to discover using a modern attitude.

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Some Interesting Points But Marred by Inaccuracies

Bergsma appears to make a compelling case that John the Baptist was a member of the Qumran community, and Bergsma's use of the Dead Sea Scrolls to interpret the Gospel of John seems persuasive. But unfortunately, his credibility is badly damaged by his highly reductive and largely inaccurate description of Greek sexuality (e.g. it is directly contradicted by Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon) and his reliance on the Testimonium Flavianum – a passage in Josephus that is almost uniformly understood by mainstream scholars to be a Christian interpolation. As someone familiar with Greek literature of the period looking for expertise in the Jewish literature, I was disappointed not to be able to trust his scholarship.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-20

early church practices with 1st cen justifications

humbly written with high quality content of early church life. Baptism chapter was enlightening as well as faith vs works discussion in context of the first century and an explanation of what it meant. worth listening to.

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  • Vincent McGovern
  • 10-02-20

Fascinating

This was a delight and so fascinating to listen to. John gives an excellent and detailed account of how the dead sea scrolls demonstrate interrelationships between the Essenes and early Christianity. My only advice would be extended pauses between some phrases, as it would help the information digestion.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-29-20

Loved it!

One of the most insightful books I’ve read, leading to an understanding of why the Reformation was an a misinterpretation of what St Paul meant be ‘faith’ and ‘works’, through the writing of the Dead Sea scrolls preserved by the Essenes community. The book is suitable for every Catholic, every Protestant, and every person searching for truth. I loved it!