About 20 centuries ago, hundreds of documents from a written library of scrolls were carefully placed into clay jars and deposited for safe-keeping into many of the western caves of Israel’s Dead Sea region. The area refers to the Qumran.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls captured the attention of numerous academics, religious leaders, and biblical researchers emerging from all walks of life. Since their discovery between 1947 and 1956, deciphering and translation continued well into the 1990s. All work is now published and is widely available for anyone interested in studying these ancient documents.

An analysis of the scrolls through the eyes of the many researchers and translators involved in the project will provide us with some unique insights into the spiritual and cultural issues of the mid to late Jewish Second Temple Period.

To help us understand the Dead Sea scrolls and their importance, I spoke with Dr. James C. Vanderkam, retired Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Notre Dame University’s John A. O’Brien Department of Biblical Theology. Professor VanderKam received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1976. As a member of the editorial committee preparing the Dead Sea Scrolls for publication, he edited thirteen volumes in the series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert.

In addition to publishing numerous essays in journals and books, professor Vanderkam’s other published works include a Commentary on the Book of Jubilees, Studies in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature, An Introduction to Early Judaism), The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, High Priests after the Exile, The Book of Enoch, and The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible.

Join us for this interview, Episode 97 from Real Israel Talk Radio.