When Bedouin shepherds discovered the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, one of the most fascinating mysteries of ancient history was exposed. Embedded in the 850 manuscripts eventually uncovered were questions about everything from the Qumran community that produced the scrolls to their impact on our understanding of biblical studies. Why were the scrolls preserved in caves? What do they reveal about such contemporary events as the life and death of Jesus, the rise of Talmudic Judaism, and the flourishing of the Essenes, Pharisees, and other Second Temple groups?
These questions are identified and explored in Lawrence Schiffman and James VanderKam’s groundbreaking Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Featuring 450 articles by an international community of 100 distinguished scholars, the Encyclopedia is the definitive account of what we know about the scrolls—their history, relevance, meaning, and the controversies that surround them. The works are viewed in historical, linguistic, and religious contexts, with archaeological evidence providing a clear basis for dating and preservation of the manuscripts.