F.F. Bruce is well known for his bible commentaries, so I was delighted to discover a dusty old hardcover book at Half Price Books titled: Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls (read online) by F.F. Bruce. Someone in the 1990's had clipped out newspaper articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls and had inserted them into the book, along with train tickets, and the pages of the hardcover had shadows from where the faded old clippings had remained for so many years since the book was published in 1956, (about seven years after the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1949 in Qumran.)
F.F. Bruce is an excellent writer, and the book is exciting to read (NOT BORING) and I felt like I was discovering the scrolls myself, or reading about it for the first time. (I admit I'm nerdy). F.F. Bruce answers all the questions that you need to know about what are the Dead Sea Scrolls, where were they found, how were they discovered, what did they contain, who wrote them, how did they get there, and what they mean to us today. F.F. Bruce also studies the Essenes and Khirbet Qumran and explains all the theories revolving them, as well as the alledged influence this location, people group and writings may have had on the New Testament.
Here's a list of interesting things I learned in the book:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls were wrapped in linens and stored in pottery. The Essenes had been known to live in a near by town, and identical pottery had been used by the Essenes, and coins were also found that dates to AD 10.
- Every book of the Old Testament was discovered except for the book of Esther. Several copies of 1 Enoch, Jubilees and other deuterocanonical works were, which is important to debates about the biblical canon.
- The Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible is more accurate than the Dead Sea Scrolls, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) are a 1000 years older.
- The DSS are very similar to the Hebrew that was used for the Septuagint.
- The Essenes performed daily baptisms and had extreme legalistic traditions
I saw a selection of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 2003 when they were on exhibit at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids' Van Andel Museum Center. There were fragments of Exodus, the Psalms and many others. I believe I even saw a copy of 1 Enoch.
I found this entire book available online for free! (read here), and there are used copies on Amazon for $4. I highly recommend it.
I found the images and book here: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/book_dss_bruce.html