Dead Sea Scrolls

Course No. 6362
Professor Gary A. Rendsburg, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
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Course No. 6362
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Course Overview

The year: 1947. A Bedouin shepherd tracks one of his stray goats into a cave mouth above the shore of the Dead Sea at a desolate place named Qumran. Inside, he discovers a pair of tall, thin clay pots. And what he finds when he opens those pots will be nothing less than the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century: the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Soon enough, archaeologists began swarming the dusty cliffs of Qumran in search of more caves and more scrolls. In time, the original 7 scrolls this Bedouin shepherd haphazardly uncovered grew to 930 scrolls; some of them complete, others merely fragments.

In the 60 years since their dramatic discovery, excavation, reassembly, and translation, the Dead Sea Scrolls have provided us with these and other fascinating insights:

  • Our oldest biblical manuscripts, including all of the book of Isaiah, portions of virtually every other book in the Hebrew Bible, and other texts esteemed by ancient Jews
  • An unprecedented window into two great monotheistic traditions in the pivotal years before and after the time of Jesus, offering insights into Jewish history, culture, and religion, as well as the growth of early Christianity out of Judaism
  • Evidence of both the theological stance and ritual practices of the Yahad, an Essene group that had authored the scrolls and that, thousands of years later, have given scholars a fresh perspective on rival sects like the Sadducees and Pharisees
  • The remarkable consistency in wording and meaning between the biblical texts discovered at Qumran and the great medieval codices that form a part of the spiritual lives of millions of Jews and Christians
  • Enhanced knowledge of how the Bible was transmitted across the ages

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 The Dead Sea Scrolls. Taught by Professor Gary A. Rendsburg, a dedicated Dead Sea Scrolls scholar who has spent decades immersed in the study of this amazing find, these 24 lectures will tell you what the scrolls are, what they contain, and how the insights they offered into religious and ancient history came into focus.

And 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 gain a fascinating peek behind the scholarly curtain to see the rivalries, setbacks, and drama surrounding that process.

Follow a Tale of Scholarly Intrigue

Few areas of historical scholarship can match the Dead Sea Scrolls' combination of intellectual excitement, novel-like intrigue, and curiosity-satisfying forays along fascinating side trails. Organizing his lectures both chronologically and topically, Professor Rendsburg draws on history, religion, archaeology, close textual analysis, linguistics, and other key disciplines to help you share in this excitement.

What kinds of continuities have these ancient scrolls established between periods in ancient history? How can they authenticate biblical texts for both believers and skeptics?

These are just a few of the many provocative questions whose answers you'll uncover in The Dead Sea Scrolls.

An Unlimited Treasure Trove of Insights

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has offered scholars what seems an almost unlimited treasure trove of new facts and insights, which this course shares. You'll learn about these and other topics:

  • The only historical instance of the Jews ever forcibly converting a conquered people to Judaism, which happened when the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus brought the vanquished people of Idumea (the biblical land of Edom) under the rule of Judea
  • The three key sects of Judaism as observed by the great Jewish historian Josephus: the priestly Sadducees and their lack of belief in the immortality of the soul and in fate; the Pharisees, whose monopoly on historical perspective would eventually be shattered by the Dead Sea Scrolls; and the Essenes, whom most scholars regard as including the Qumran sect
  • The rare stroke of scholarly fortune represented in the discovery of the first seven scrolls sealed in jars, and the triumph of recovering more than 900 documents from the ravages of 2,000 years of exposure
  • The extraordinary intrigue (sometimes spanning generations) that overlays the story of the scrolls, such as the tale of Professor Eliezer Sukenik—who purchased three of the original seven scrolls disguised as an Arab—and his son, Yigael Yadin, who later purchased the remaining four scrolls through a classified advertisement in The Wall Street Journal
  • The ways that parchment scrolls of the time were made and written upon
  • The great lengths to which some ancient Jews went to ensure their adherence to the strict interpretations of halakha, or Jewish law

These stories and many more are brought vividly to life by Professor Rendsburg, whose knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject are enhanced by decades of study and repeated visits to the Qumran site.

Develop an Appreciation for an Unprecedented Find

At the heart of The Dead Sea Scrolls are the documents themselves. Throughout the course, you spend a wealth of time reading parts of the actual scrolls in English translation. Professor Rendsburg continually trains your eye to uncover the salient religious practices and intriguing theological ideas expressed in these documents.

In addition, his specialized knowledge in the history of the Hebrew language and his skilled literary approaches to the Bible show through in every lecture of this wide-ranging exploration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their invaluable importance. 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.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Discoveries and Their Significance
    Learn what the Dead Sea Scrolls are, the story of their unlikely discovery, and the state of scholarship about ancient Judaism and early Christianity prior to the scrolls' surfacing. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls would alter our understanding of every aspect of the crucial historical period in which they were created. x
  • 2
    The First Seven Scrolls
    Plunge into a tale of excitement and adventure and discover more about how scholars gained access to the first seven scrolls discovered at Qumran—and what they found when they began to translate these extraordinary initial discoveries. x
  • 3
    Opening and Reading the First Scroll
    This lecture begins your immersion into the text of the scrolls themselves, starting with the scroll known as the Community Rule or Manual of Discipline—the important text that gives us our first insight into the community and theology of the scrolls' creators and guardians. x
  • 4
    The Historical Backdrop of Ancient Judaism
    Consider history prior to the scrolls, beginning with the biblical period and moving forward to focus on the Maccabean revolt, the arrival of the Romans, the reign of King Herod, the life of Jesus, the Zealot uprising, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the fall of Masada. x
  • 5
    The Rise of the Jewish Sects
    Gain insight into the appearance of Jewish sectarianism in late antiquity—focusing primarily on the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots—through the Jewish historian Josephus, along with the Jewish philosopher Philo, the authors of the New Testament books, the later rabbis, and even the Roman polymath Pliny the Elder. x
  • 6
    The Dead Sea Site of the Qumran Sect
    Journey to the isolated region of Qumran's caves and learn how archaeological excavations of a nearby ruin helped scholars form the most accepted hypothesis of who wrote the scrolls and why the scrolls were deposited in the caves. x
  • 7
    The Emergence of the Rabbinic System
    Step forward in time to examine some later rabbinic texts from the 3rd century and the rise of the rabbinical tradition itself, both of which provide vital perspectives on the composition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. x
  • 8
    A Dead Sea Scroll from Medieval Cairo
    Focus on the famous Damascus Document, two copies of which were discovered in a Cairo synagogue in the 1890s. Although the copies were medieval, the texts themselves were believed to be ancient—a conclusion later confirmed when fragments of the same texts were found at Qumran. x
  • 9
    Pesher Interpretation—Prophecy Read Anew
    Look at a scroll known as the Pesher Habakkuk, the most prominent representative of an interpretive method whereby the true message of a biblical book is read as speaking to present-day conditions, as opposed to the original setting centuries earlier. x
  • 10
    The War Scroll and Other Apocalyptic Texts
    Two key scrolls—one of which details a cataclysmic battle between the "Sons of Light" (the Qumran sect's self-designation) and the "Sons of Darkness" (all other Jews, apparently)—offer you a window into apocalyptic belief among the Dead Sea sectarians. x
  • 11
    Biblical Manuscripts at Qumran
    Using clarifying examples of biblical text, enter the arcane world of textual criticism, learning about the transmission of texts in antiquity, the oral reading tradition, the translation of the Bible into Greek, the Samaritan version of the Torah, and, of course, the Qumran biblical manuscripts themselves. x
  • 12
    Alternative Views of Qumran and the Scrolls
    Most scholars believe the Dead Sea Scrolls were authored by a Jewish sect identified with the Essenes, who then hid the documents from the advancing Roman army in 68 C.E. This is not the only view, however. In this lecture, learn about several dissenting views. x
  • 13
    Stops and Starts En Route to Publication
    The story of the Dead Sea Scrolls involves much more than just archaeology and analysis. This lecture takes you into the intrigue, scholarly rivalry, and sometimes astonishing delays that marked the scrolls' long journey from discovery to complete publication. x
  • 14
    The Qumran Vision for a New Temple
    Explore in detail the Temple Scroll, which reworked the Torah's laws, using the book of Deuteronomy as a base. Also, learn how a key shift in the text's narrative voice—to that of God speaking in the first person—has drawn attention to a major belief central to the Qumran sect. x
  • 15
    Daily Life at Qumran
    How did the Qumran community go about its daily life? This lecture integrates both textual and archaeological data to examine the sect's social structure, economy, farming, food production, and the question of women at Qumran. x
  • 16
    The Halakhic Letter—Rituals Define the Sect
    This treatise on 20 points of Jewish law, written by the Qumran sect's leader, was published in modern form 40 years after its discovery. Follow the twists and turns of that story before delving into the contents of this foundational text for the Qumran community. x
  • 17
    The Qumran Biblical Canon
    When the Qumran community existed, the biblical canon was not yet fixed, with different Jewish groups seeing as canonical some texts that others did not. Examine some texts shedding light on the Qumran canon, including the Genesis Apocryphon and its detailed elaboration of Sarah's physical beauty. x
  • 18
    The Qumran Calendar
    Look at the ways in which the arrangement of the yearly calendar influenced the practice of faith, and how the Qumran community used a different calendar from other Jews of the time. x
  • 19
    Jewish Scholars and Qumran Ritual Practices
    Return to the process by which the scrolls were published, learning how several key events in 1991 ultimately shattered the scholarly monopoly and paved the way for close examination of religious practices at Qumran, including the use of tefillin, the mezuzah, and the recitation of Grace after Meals. x
  • 20
    Prayers, Hymns, and the Synagogue
    Continue your focus on Jewish ritual at Qumran, with special attention to prayer and the role of the synagogue, before turning to the last of the original seven documents to be examined in this course, a lengthy collection of poetry known as the Thanksgiving Hymns. x
  • 21
    Qumran Hebrew as an Anti-Language
    Turn to the dialect used in the Dead Sea Scrolls known to scholars as "Qumran Hebrew"—an example of the sociolinguistic phenomenon of "anti-language"—and investigate how it could be used by the sect to set itself apart. x
  • 22
    The Enigma of the Copper Scroll
    Learn how the Qumran community's most remarkable and puzzling text—the corroded metal sheets of which needed to be cut apart into strips to permit reading—proved to contain obscure hints of the locations of vast and specific amounts of gold, silver, and other treasure. x
  • 23
    Connections to Christianity
    There are many links between the Dead Sea Scrolls sect and the Jesus movement. This lecture gathers connections already mentioned in earlier lectures and further explores beliefs and practices shared by the Qumran sect and earliest Christianity. x
  • 24
    Scroll Fragments and a New View of Judaism
    Even quite fragmentary scrolls offer new insights. This lecture samples three such fragments, turns to the ultimate fates of the different sects, and then concludes with a look at lessons the scrolls offer us today. x

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  • 144-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Gary A. Rendsburg

About Your Professor

Gary A. Rendsburg, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
Dr. Gary A. Rendsburg holds the Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, where he also holds an appointment in the History Department. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from New York University and taught at Canisius College and Cornell University-the latter for 18 years-before joining the Rutgers faculty in 2004. The author of six books and...
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Reviews

Dead Sea Scrolls is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 101.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dead Sea Scrolls Demystified Speaker kept a nice balance between the academic and the accessible. I purchased because there is so much disinformation in popular media. Professor Rosenberg enjoyed the topic and he kept it interesting.
Date published: 2018-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Dead Sea Scrolls I bought the course a few years back. While cleaning out a storage room he ran across my old course. He was really excited about it. So I bought another course from you and gave it to him. He is thrilled and is really studying it. I'm surprised.
Date published: 2018-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! The content is very informative and interesting. I have watched 2 of the episodes and have learned lots already. My one complaint is that the presenter constantly moves which is most distracting. Please give him a comfortable chair!
Date published: 2018-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Valuable course This was a fascinating class. I was sad when I finished the lectures, though of course, I can view them again. It was made easy to understand, it fit right in with my studies of Jewish history, the Bible, and Hebrew. The instructor transmitted his enthusiasm and love for the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It became clear to me, the wealth of knowledge the world received from the Scrolls, and how much is still to be learned.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I have only viewed the first two lectures and I found them to be very informative. Looking forward to view to rest of them
Date published: 2018-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! Prof. Rendsburg's knowledge of the history, archeology, and language of the period gave creditably and objectivity to the topic. I highly recommend this to people of all faiths.
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilled with this service! I just purchased the CD series for Dead Sea Scrolls and am only thru lecture #4. It's fascinating! The professor is incredible! So glad I did this and know I'll be continuing studying other topics via The Great Courses!
Date published: 2018-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Has it All I have been an avid customer for several years and this lecture series was one of the very best! The content is first-rate delivered by a very informative, engaged and humorous professor. We moved through lots of information at a very steady, but unhurried, pace. I could have listened to this guy talk all day. He was well-balanced, even giving part of his talk on those theories that go against the professional grain so to speak. This series gave you a lot to think about and delivered in a very balanced, logical train of thought that makes me miss my intro college courses. The course was probing without being too provocative. As a christian looking for a bit more insight into the 1st and 2nd centuries, I surprisingly learned a great deal about Jewish religious customs and how they evolved. As a result, I have a greater appreciation for Judaism. In a series that had many highlights, I was most impressed with his closing comments on what he has learned about religious traditions and respect for all. I hope he does another series. Bravo!!
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative! I am enjoying hearing about the Dead Sea Scrolls, and am finding this course has amazing amounts of in depth info.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very indepth and lengthy I recently went to Jordan and became interested in the history of the area. I had no knowledge of the dead sea scrolls. This lecture series provides tons of information. Almost too much information. It was overwhelming. I found it very difficult to get through the first four lessons but then gradually got more interested. The professor's voice was nice to listen to and he did his best to remind you who he was speaking about and how it fits into the overall picture. Perhaps I didn't like it as much because I have no background in this area so all the terms and names were new to me and it really overwhelmed me. But I did get something out of it.
Date published: 2017-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I learned things about Judaism (beyond the scrolls) that I never knew, such as the distinction among the sects of those days. Excellent professor..
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Making the Dead Come Alive I purchased this for our Adult Sunday School Class and it is a great exploration of the dead sea scrolls and the Qumran community. Prof. Rendsburg provides great insights into the scrolls and the community that produced them. He not only provides the latest scholarly information but adds is own very informed critique of it. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting subject I find the topic very interesting, delivered by someone that knows the subject matter very well and can explain it in easy terms. History, religious history, is not everyone's bag but this lecture series covers the topic and it is interesting.
Date published: 2017-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presentation about the Dead Sea Scrolls The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a treasure chest of additional knowledge. These scrolls provide additional insights of the first few centuries of the Common Era (C.E.). These scrolls also help identify the errors in translation and transcription of the books of the Bible that have occurred over the centuries. Professor Rendsburg is very knowledge and quite passionate on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This knowledge and enthusiasm is demonstrated by the style and manner of presentation in these lectures. You will also get a little bit of exposure to the Hebrew language. Professor Rendsburg not only quotes the Dead Sea Scrolls via the English translation but also quotes some of the Hebrew words and phrases. When quoting these Hebrew words and phrases, Professor Rendsburg discusses some of the difficulties of translating these into other languages such as English and as of the errors that have arisen because of the inherent ambiguity that can occur from language translations. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good and interesting study. I downloaded this study one week ago. I'm a history buff. I'm also love biblical history. So this was very fascinating. The information was interesting that it held my attention for hours. My unit has small amount of space so I downloaded a little at a time. Thank you for the opportunity to listen and learn.
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Overview and Great for non-Jews! I really enjoyed this class. The material is well-organized and I felt the Professor was easy to follow. I understand some of the folks who made the comment that he was repetitive, but for people who are not Jewish and may have little or no experience with information about Jewish history or the history of these times, I was not bothered by the repetition of important points and reminders of "who's who" and "what's what"! The Professor is methodical but not boring. He explains interesting facts about the Essenes as well as other Jewish sects and early Christians so that I felt like I have a better understanding of the people, not just the documents. I also enjoyed the information about how the scrolls were discovered, translated, interpreted, and published. I appreciated the way the Professor gave different points of view from among scholars about many of the conclusions or implications of things in the documents. All in all, well worth your time if you have an interest in this subject. I watched the video and felt the on-screen text was helpful to me, but this class could easily be enjoyed as an audio class and nothing really would be lost.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Somewhat full of himself A friend about to take a trip to the Holy land did an introduction to the Dead Sea scrolls at our church recently, which inspired me to take the first half of this lecture series out of our local library. I barely forced myself to finish it, mostly listening to it in the background while doing something else. The professor lectures from behind a lectern with very little movement and minimal visual aids. The video did little to add to what would have been on audio alone. He does cover the background and setting of the time well, but is VERY repetitive. He is very pointed in digressions about what he has personally done publishing about the scrolls. Other professors may mention such things, but they don't usually do it in such a forceful and almost digressive way as he does. I personally found it quite annoying, along with an unusual number of references to "as I discussed (or will discuss) in lecture number __". I am not likely to request the other half of this series or look for other presentations by the same professor. . I am an active Christian layperson with some seminary training in both Old and New Testament. Based on some other reviews, this might be engaging for someone with less Biblical background, but I found it much less interesting than multiple other Great Courses I've watched. If I want to learn more about this subject, I'll try a book.
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sectually explicit, indeed! Audio download These lectures...very well presented by Dr Rendsburg (love the NY accent) ...require some background in Judaism and the history of that religion. There are many terms and references to the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Talmud, etc) that just don't roll off the tongue of a gentile such as me. So, if you are considering this course, come prepared...these are very specific discussions of possibly the most significant archeological discovery within the last millennia. The history included within the Dead Sea scrolls adds greatly to our understanding of the transition from biblical Judaism to the (more) modern (rabbinic) Judaism, by way of the preservation of manuscripts from a minor sect within the Hebrew culture some 2300 years ago (300 BCE - 70 CE). The discovery of these scrolls in 1947-48...discovered in a series of caves along the western shores of the Dead Sea...document the important religious texts of Judaism as well as the more specific beliefs and laws of a particular Hebrew sect, that most believe to be the Essenes. These texts record in some 930 scrolls (though other sources suggests 981 scrolls) copies of Hebrew Scriptures, non canonized texts and sectarian manuscripts that provide an historic snapshot of the thoughts of the 'monks' who recorded them in the time just before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE. Many of those thoughts were not generally accepted by the overall Hebrew population at that time. In fact, some of those ideas were very similar to the soon-to-emerge Christian religion that would ultimate engulf most of the western world. These are very much worthwhile lectures (sale+coupon, of course) for the serious history buff and I highly recommend them. As an aside, by coincidence, I have recently read an interesting book that gives examples of sectually explicit (blame Rendsburg for that term) variations within our modern Christian world that sound very similar to the variety of sects described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Much as in the basic concepts of geology (my field), uniformitarianism, what happened in the past, continues to happen today.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great introduction to the subject I am not sure what I expected, but I learned a lot from this course about the sect that wrote the scrolls and about the state of the science in this area.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dead Sea Scrolls Excellent presentation. Instructor was thorough in coverage of the material.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Dead Sea Scrolls This course provided all sorts of in depth material concerning the content of the "Dead Sea Scrolls" and the community that produced them. The content of this course dovetails nicely with any of the other courses available through "The Great Courses" which teach about early Christian development and the late Temple Period Hebrew beliefs upon which most if not all western Christian beliefs are founded upon. I would recommend this course to anyone who has a interest in the foundation of western social beliefs which were developed separately from ancient Greek philosophy.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good introduction Enjoyed listening to this while commuting in Atlanta rush hour. The presenter missed a few other connections to Christianity, such as references to Jewish festivals referred to in the New Testament like Pentecost. Fewer verbal cross references to future or past lectures would be an improvement. Not explicitly mentioning "Scripture alone " as a parallel between the sects during the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls and differences between Roman Catholicism and orthodox Protestant standards was a noted omission. There were occasions when the pronouncement of certain words differed from I believe to be standard today in the USA was a little disconcerting without an explanation.
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dead Sea Scrolls I am in the middle of the course. He is very informative and clear. He is not as linear as I expected and he keeps backtracking.
Date published: 2016-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I gave this as a Christmas present and he loves it
Date published: 2016-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of best courses out of 10 This was an amazing course. Dr Rendsburg's presentation was a 10 . His knowledge of the subject and enthusiasm was impressive. My wife and I seemed to bond with him and couldn't wait to see the next lecture. We were both sad when we finished this great course.
Date published: 2015-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and Well Presented I have taken a number of courses about and around the Dead Sea Scrolls and this one was clearly the most informative, easily followed and well presented. The course kindled my interest even further and I have been left with much to consider regarding the subject. I am confident that when I do this course again, further down the road, further information and queries will present themselves. I recommend this course; very well presented and worth the cost!
Date published: 2015-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! This was a great, great course. Professor Rendsberg did a great job introducing the material and really brought to love how exciting and important the Dead Sea Scrolls have been for scholarship. Each lecture made me look forward to the early morning commute! I am excited to begin to listen to his lectures on the book of Genesis. I can't recommend this course enough.
Date published: 2015-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating From Start to Finish Watching these lectures, my husband and I were mesmerized. The depth of Prof. Rendsburg's knowledge brought an insight and detail that we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. We had some small knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls and various discoveries and controversies surrounding them before watching this course, but that knowledge was small indeed. Not only did this course provide an excellent overview of the subject, but Prof. R also included fascinating, detailed information about some of the scrolls; explained some of the differing opinions of various scholars; and offered many interesting asides that enhanced the course. Once we got started we couldn't wait to continue. Excellent in very way.
Date published: 2015-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So Much to Learn! It is amazing how much we have learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls. And it's even more amazing how many questions remain outstanding. Are we really sure we know who the authors were? Why are there differences between some of the scrolls and the biblical canon? Why were the scrolls found scattered in several caves? Rendsburg walks us through all of those questions and more. He was very clear on which answers we know and those answers which remain speculation. I felt he fairly represented his theories and opposing theories. Before watching the course I was familiar with the reviews stating that Rendsburg's references to the cave, scroll name/number, and column were unnecessary. I actually liked knowing these values as it helped me place the references in context with other references to similar locations. (I was able to watch the entire course over just a few days so keeping track of all these different references wasn't too hard.) I do admit that his presentation skills are barely average. However, he's made a significant improvement since recording his other course. I was much more interested in what he had to say than in how he said it. There is a great deal of information in this course and I got a lot out of it.
Date published: 2015-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important presentation of Jewish/Christian roots Covers current scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the people who produced them, and the context of events and religious developments in the Palestine of 3rd century BCE to 2nd century CE. The approach is from an academic perspective that minimizes anachronistic readings of the documents and is fair to those with different conclusions about the meaning of the texts. Excellent coverage of the fluidity of the development of both Judaism and early Christianity. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-01-12
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