The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity

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9781403961433: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity
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Since their discoveries in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been a source of constant controversy. Scholars still argue over the meaning of the fragmentary texts--especially what they say about the Jewish roots of the first Christian communities. Discovering that the scroll fragments date Mark's gospel much earlier than once believed, Carsten Peter Thiede claims that the scrolls establish links between the two great faiths, and that they literally revolutionize our understanding of the Bible. Unraveling the complex and fascinating history ofthe Dead Sea Scrolls, this book will challenge and even change how people think about religion.

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Review:

Most people know that the Dead Sea Scrolls exist, and most people have a vague idea that they contain some sort of secrets about the early days of Christianity and about a crucial period of Jewish history. But most of the literature pertaining to the scrolls is written in scholarly jargon that is all but impenetrable to the general reader. For a straightforward, who-what-when-where orientation to the scrolls and their significance in early Christianity, lay people are lucky to have The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity by Carsten Peter Thiede. The book begins by providing basic information about the scrolls. They were written by an orthodox Jewish sect called the Essenes between 150 B.C. and A.D. 68. They are written in Hebrew and Aramaic (the language that Jesus spoke). And they were known by other ancient writers, including Origen, an influential theologian in the early Church, until at least the third century. Although most of Thiede's book reviews basic information, his arguments are by no means bland. Readers already familiar with the scrolls will be challenged by Thiede's argument that cutting-edge, microscopic analysis has revealed previously unnoticed texts in the scrolls; and readers coming to the scrolls for the first time will have to reckon with his invitation "to develop a new awareness of [Christianity's] roots"--in other words, to attempt to overcome "2,000 years of mainly anti-Jewish church history," in order to grapple with the fact that "Christianity is Jewish." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Carsten Peter Thiede is a papyrologist and Professor of Early Christian History at STH Basel, Switzerland. He has written several books including Jesus: Life or Legend? and co-authored the bestselling The Jesus Papyrus and The Quest For The True Cross with Matthew d'Ancona.

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