Book Review: Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 24, 2023 | Blog, Book Reviews

by Dr. John Bergsma

I got this for Christmas. It was as great as I hoped it would be.
Doctor Bergsma is an Old Testament and Dead Sea Scrolls specialist and a teacher at Franciscan University. You can tell how fascinating and exciting he finds all this and his fascination and excitement are infectious.
Also, he does a wonderful job of dispensing the information so that even housewives in the suburbs with brain fog can understand it.
In 1946ish, The Dead Sea Scrolls were, apparently, one heck of a find.
There was a community, called Qumran, of celibate Jewish men from a sect called The Essenes, that lived near the Dead Sea. They were a radical sect of Judaism that had a lot of parallel ideas to Christianity.
The book gives an overview of the Qumran community. Their beliefs, their daily life at the time and their writings ( what we call the Dead Sea Scrolls) found in the caves of their community.
The Scrolls add a new dimension to many New Testament writings and may shed some light on some of the quirkier elements.
Why was The Baptist living in the desert, eating bugs and baptising people?
Why does the Gospel of John have different language than the other gospels?
Why is the dating of the Last Supper different in a couple of the gospels?
Did Saint Paul write all of his letters?

It also sheds new and interesting light on the Last Supper and the Priesthood and the structure of the early church. Also, why was there a guy in the Garden of Gethsemane only wearing a linen garment and who was that dude that arranged the upper room for the Last Supper and why was he carrying water?

At the end of each chapter there’s a summary and half a dozen recommended books if you’re interested to learn more on what he’d just written.
It was engrossing and I didn’t want it to end. 

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