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Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran
HARDCOVER; Published: 7/2/2019
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6620-2
Price: $ 52.99
400 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls altered our understanding of the development of the biblical text, the history and literature of Second Temple Judaism, and the thought of the early Christian community. Questions continue to surround the relationship between the caves in which the scrolls were found and the nearby settlement at Khirbet Qumran. 

In Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, Sidnie White Crawford combines the conclusions of the first generation of scrolls scholars that have withstood the test of time, new insights that have emerged since the complete publication of the scrolls corpus, and the much more complete archaeological picture that we now have of Khirbet Qumran. She creates a new synthesis of text and archaeology that yields a convincing history of and purpose for the Qumran settlement and its associated caves.


Biblical Archaeology Society Best Popular Book on Archaeology (2021)

The American Society of Overseas Research Frank Moore Cross Award (2019)

Jodi Magness
— University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Crawford proposes that Qumran functioned as an Essene library and scribal center, based on a comprehensive and balanced analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the archaeological remains. Her highly readable and up-to-date overview will serve as a basic resource for scholars as well as an excellent introduction to the field for nonspecialists.”
James C. VanderKam
— University of Notre Dame
“It is a pleasure to offer strong praise for Sidnie White Crawford’s Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran. In it she offers a compelling case that Qumran and the nearby caves served as the scribal center and central library for the Essene ‘wing’ of Judaism. She supports her thesis with thorough, up-to-date studies of scribes and libraries, the scrolls, their owners, and the archaeological evidence. The result is a comprehensive and appealing theory advanced by a scholar of unquestioned expertise in the field.
Lawrence H. Schiffman
— New York University
“This volume, by a leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, looks at the Dead Sea Scrolls and the site of Qumran from the perspective of the study of ancient books and libraries, an approach that results in important new proposals regarding the function of the site, the various caves, and the history of the collection. This novel approach will make this a must-read for anyone interested in the scrolls and their importance for the history of Judaism and the background of Christianity.”
Joan Taylor
— King’s College London
“This is an insightful, well-researched, contextual study that reaches broadly to archaeology and the salient evidence to understand the nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reasons why they were placed in caves around Qumran. Crawford presents a much-needed holistic and synthetic view. This accessible and lively study is expertly crafted, judicious, and well-argued and will be essential reading for anyone studying the scrolls.”
Charlotte Hempel
— University of Birmingham
“Drawing on many decades of intense research, Sidnie White Crawford, a leading international expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, has produced an impressively wide-ranging study on the state of play of research on the library and scribal profile of the texts and people reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as offering her own comprehensive assessment of Qumran as home to the central library of the Essenes. This authoritative and admirably lucid and accessible volume makes an invaluable contribution to scholarship but will also serve excellently as a textbook for advanced students of the scrolls and is set to become a standard resource in the field.”
Cecilia Wassén
— Uppsala University
“More than seventy years after the discovery of Cave 1, Sidnie White Crawford has offered a new synthesis of the archaeological and textual finds from Qumran. She writes as one who knows intimately both the archaeology of Qumran and the manuscripts from the caves. By placing the Qumran collection in the wider context of scribes and libraries of the ancient world, this study sheds important new light on the finds. Crawford masterfully details the richness of the library, from its content to the physical features of the manuscripts. At times her investigation reads like a mystery novel that the reader will find hard to put down. Piece by piece, Crawford assembles a compelling case for understanding the settlement at Qumran as a scribal center of the Essenes and the collection of texts as their central library. All future scholarly reconstructions of the Qumran sect will have to reckon with this study. This volume is a must-read for students and scholars of early Judaism alike.”
George J. Brooke
—University of Manchester
“This book is the mature synthesis of the debates of the last generation that the field of Qumran studies has been waiting for. Sidnie White Crawford has eruditely assembled a very wide range of evidence from the caves, the Qumran site, and the manuscript finds, together with relevant comparative materials. She weighs that evidence judiciously, challenging, correcting, or endorsing a wide range of opinion. Overall, she courageously argues in a nuanced manner that the manuscript deposits in the eleven Qumran caves represent a single literary collection and that Qumran itself was established as a scribal center and library for the Essenes. The book will become a standard resource and reference point for the next generation.”
Society for Old Testament Study Book List
“Provides a fitting tribute to [Franke Moore Cross’s and John Strugnell’s] scholarly legacy.”
“Anyone wishing to understand the contours of Second Temple Judaism, including the social world of the New Testament, has to consider the Dead Sea Scrolls and the scribes who produced them. Crawford’s volume is now the essential place to start, for specialists and non-specialists alike.”