A major new work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest sacred documents of Judaism, which reveals their surprising connections to early Christianity.
“A luminous treatment of a fascinating subject! Highly recommended!”—Scott Hahn, author of The Fourth Cup
From award-winning scholar John Bergsma comes an intriguing book that reveals new insights on the Essenes, a radical Jewish community predating Christianity, whose existence, beliefs, and practices are often overlooked in the annuls of history. Bergsma reveals how this Jewish sect directly influenced the beliefs, sacraments, and practices of early Christianity and offers new information on how Christians lived their lives, worshipped, and eventually went on to influence the Roman Empire and Western civilization. Looking to Hebrew scripture and Jewish tradition, Bergsma helps to further explain how a simple Jewish peasant could go on to inspire a religion and a philosophy that still resonates 2,000 years later.
In this enriching and exciting exploration, Bergsma demonstrates how the Dead Sea Scrolls—the world's greatest modern archaeological discovery—can shed light on the Church as a sacred society that offered hope, redemption, and salvation to its member. Ultimately, these mysterious writings are a time machine that can transport us back to the ancient world, deepen our appreciation of Scripture, and strengthen our understanding of the Christian faith.
“An accessible introduction . . . This is a handy entry point for readers unfamiliar with Essenes or those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls.”—Publishers Weekly
John Bergsma, PhD, is a professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Twice voted Faculty of the Year by graduating classes at Franciscan University, Bergsma holds three degrees in ancient languages and theology from Calvin College and Seminary and a doctorate in ancient Christianity and Judaism from the University of Notre Dame. A specialist in the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bergsma has published several popular and educational books on Scripture and the Christian faith, as well as dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals and essay collections. He and his wife, Dawn, live with their children in Steubenville, Ohio.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls give us a window into the thought of first-century Jews such as Jesus and the disciples. Through that window we see the continuity between the Old Testament and the New. The New is not a novelty. An expert on the Scrolls, Dr. Bergsma shows us how the texts and rituals of the Qumran community illuminate the New Covenant sacraments and Christian liturgy as we know it today.”—Scott Hahn, author of The Fourth Cup
“John Bergsma has provided the missing link between the assembly of the Old Testament and the Church of the New Testament. Read this book and you’ll see the Gospels and the sacraments more vividly than ever before. You’ll understand your place in history and in God’s people. If you read just one book about first-century Judaism, let it be this one.”—Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church
“Since the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947, there have been countless books written about them. But there is nothing quite like what John Bergsma has done in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls
. If you have any interest whatsoever in the Jewish roots of Christianity, then buy this book! It will radically transform the way you see Jesus, Judaism, and the origins of Christianity.”—Brant Pitre, author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist