The Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes (Collins £4) In this up-to-date survey of the whole subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr Vermes presents us with the remarkable results of many years of research and reflection. The ordinary, educated reader will be grateful and so will the specialist, both being catered for.
Not surprisingly, the book reads like a detective story. Out of the salient facts of 43 non-biblical documents there emerges a clear picture of the Qumran monastery, its community life and powerful influence. The history and identification of the sect are conclusively proved and their disappearance explained.
The Qumran Scrolls have been supplemented by the finds at Masada and Bar Kokhba and these also are seen to be of great importance to the study of the centuries immediately before and after Christ.
As the immense undertaking continues inexcusably slowly in some quarters it is reasonable to expect that our understanding of the Early Church will also be considerably increased.
The Old Testament is as vitally important to the New as root to fruit. From the Pentateuch to the Apocalypse the revelation given to mankind is the same through the
religious development of the People of God.
Dr Sawyer offers many new insights into important elements of the Bible, including the role and person of Moses, the nature of prophecy and the significance of the Temple. We are reminded that the Old Testament is the common basis of three of the greatest religions in the world, and constitutes a powerful medium of dialogue between hundreds of millions of people. Biblical studies are increasingly important, and this book offers to lecturers, teachers and students, authoritative, scholarly and balanced viewpoints eminently worthy of serious study, The Books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Commentary by Rex Mason (Cambridge Bible Commentary £7.50) The joy of the returning exiles from the bondage of Babylon in 538 BC soon turned into disillusionment, whence the rise of the three prophets minutely studied in this book.
As in other volumes of the series, the paperback edition included, the text is that of the New English Bible preceded by an essential introduction, while the commentary is devised for the greater convenience of the student.
The three prophets are seen in their historical context in the light of modern biblical research with the main theological issues lucidly discussed. Although non-technical, this book is a brilliant exposé of God's Message to an age not unlike our own.
The Second Book of Samuel. Commentary by Peter R. Ackroyd (Cambridge Bible Commentary £8 hardback, £3.25 paperback)
The Second Book of Samuel is concerned with David's unification of his kingdom, the rebellion of Absalom and the various events of David's reign.
We are shown the place it occupies in the great sweep of prophetic history from Joshua to the Second Book of Kings, and the message it had for its own days and has for ours. This work is one of sensitive, scholarly interpretation and is strongly recommended to every serious student of the Bible.
Start Here by John Tucker (Denholm House Press 75p)
The Bible is like a bookshop: we have to be allowed to browse.
The advantage of this simple little book is that we are accompanied by someone who knows we are biblical illiterates, who answers all our questions and gives us a taste of many of the Books with brief but thoughtful explanations: just what is needed for anybody over 10 who wants to begin to know the Bible and become a practised and enlightened reader.