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The Temple Scroll – The Hidden Law of the Dead Sea Sect

The Temple Scroll – The Hidden Law of the Dead Sea Sect

Autore/i: Yadin Yigael

Editore: Steimatzky Ltd

pp. 264, with 24 pages of colour illustrations and 50 black and white photos and line drawings, Tel Aviv (Israel)

The momentous discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, of which the Temple scroll is the latest to be deciphered, sent shock-waves throughout the world of biblical and historical scholarship, challenging the conventional notions of the influences that shaped early Christianity, shedding light on obscurities in the Bible text, and providing dramatic insights into the events and ideas in the Holy Land during the final turbulent centuries of Jewish independence.

This account by Yigael Yadin of his strange acquisition and detective-like decipherment of what has turned out to be the most important of all the Dead Sea scrolls discovered so far was completed shortly before his death. The scroll has the longest text – it measures 30 feet – written in ancient Hebrew in the biblical style and preserved in the dry heat of a Dead Sea cave for some two thousand years.
It is a remarkable story, beginning with a million dollar proposal out of the blue, the retrieval of the scroll seven years later in the midst of a war, followed by months of painstaking unrolling and years of decipherment and study, and ending with the final recovery of a text of the highest significance that sheds light on obscurities in the Bible and on the ideas prevailing during the century and a half before Jesus.
Presented as the words of God speaking directly to Moses, the scroll contains what appears to be a “hidden” Torah, supplying laws on issues vital at the time that are “missing” from the standard Laws of Moses but which were “revealed” only to the Dead Sea sect through its founder, the “Teacher of Righteousness”. Most exciting are its novel concepts, particularly on the Temple structures and ritual and the “Statutes of the King”, as well as Yadin’s startling conclusions and the reasoning behind them. Some of the scroll’s iniunctions may well have influenced the early Christians in a special way.
As with his popular accounts of his dramatic archaeological excavations, Yadin has written a fascinating book of uncommon importance which will appeal to both the scholar and the general reader.

A general at the age of thirty-two when he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Israel Army, Yigael Yadin continued his post-graduate studies upon his retirement from the service. Within a comparatively brief period, after heading spectacular archaeological expeditions which yielded dramatic discoveries, and holding the Chair in Archaeology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, he became one of the foremost international scholars in the fields of biblical archaeology and Dead Sea scroll research.
In a temporary departure from academic activity, he entered the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in 1977, joined the government and served as deputy Prime Minister until 1981, when he retired from politics and resumed his professorship at the University. He died suddenly of a heart attack in May 1984, at the age of sixty-seven, shortly after completing this book.
Apart from his numerous academic works, Yadin also wrote popular books on his archaeological excavations at Hazor, Masada and the Caves of Bar Kokhba near the Dead Sea, which became best-sellers, as did his Message of the Scrolls, one of the first publications on the Dead Sea documents.

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