Prof. Van der Ploeg chanced to be in Palestine at the time of the discovery of the Qumram manuscripts, known now as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and today is considered one of the authorities on their importance. He feels that the general reader will find that these contribute more to the history of ancient Judaism and early Christianity than to actual interpretative knowledge of the Old Testament texts. The object of this book is to clear away the obscurities created by differing interpretations and schools of thought, and to stress the significance of the findings in the framework of their age. He gives first the story of the discovery, sums up the facts of controversy, places the texts in a broad historical setting, and identifies in the the sect as a Jewish brotherhood, probably the Essenes, that existed for some three centuries, according to such non-Biblical authorities as Josephus, Philo, Pliny. He assesses the close connection between the Damascus documents and the Manual of Discipline, the most important-historically- of the scrolls. He explores the views of the brotherhood, its organization, the library of the caves- and the relation of Qumram and Christianity. He takes sharp issue with Wilson, Allegro, Davies- all of whom feel that the findings must change Christian thinking. He analyzes the essential Jewishness -- and sees the likeness only in subordinate matters...A useful addition to the shelves on the subject.