International intrigue, scholarly arrogance, and eccentric personalities populate this examination of what the Dead Sea Scrolls really tell us. Since their discovery by Bedouins in the 1940s, the scrolls have been variously used as a springboard for academic careers, patriotic propaganda for the modern state of Israel, and material for the spinning of ancient conspiracy theories. Silberman (A Prophet from Amongst You, 1993, etc.) presents both a stunning indictment of the small cadre of scholars who controlled access to the scrolls for decades and a marvelous revisionist reconstruction of the ancient community that produced the scrolls. He argues convincingly that the cloistered, middle-class scholars who transcribed the scrolls and exclusively published their contents at a glacial pace until a series of highly publicized recent actions were blind to what the scrolls revealed. Rather than the quietist religious community living in the desert before the first century ce that has been standard fare since the earliest publications of the scrolls, Silberman provides a commanding defense of the oft-maligned theory that the Qumran community lived and wrote as an underground anti-imperial revolutionary group during the same period that produced Christianity. Silberman's careful laying out of evidence should create a reasonable doubt in most readers' minds that the circumstances described in the scrolls make much more sense in a first century ce context than in the earlier period previously accepted. And his presentation of early Christians as a group from the same milieu, but who abandoned militancy and nationalism in favor of a message of love that was tolerable to the Roman colonizers, equally undermines what he sees as an unwarranted implication of the superiority of Christianity over Judaism in scrolls research. (For more on the Dead Sea Scrolls, see Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. TK.) Silberman takes sides, but he comes across as fair and judicious. His depiction of the interplay between ancient history and its manipulation by nations, quacks, and petty academics is terrific.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1994

ISBN: 0-399-13982-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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Internationally renowned because of his earlier books, among them tape Letters, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis making religion provoking, memorable and delightful is still more latest Reflections on the Psalms. Though he protests that he writes learned about things in which he is unlearned himself, the reader is likely thank God for his wise ignorance. Here especially he throws a clear lightly or not, on many of the difficult psalms, such as those which abound with and cursing, and a self-centeredness which seems to assume' that God must be side of the psalmist. These things, which make some psalm singers pre not there, have a right and proper place, as Mr. Lewis shows us. They of Psalms more precious still. Many readers owe it to themselves to read flections if only to learn this hard but simple lesson. Urge everyone to book.

Pub Date: June 15, 1958

ISBN: 015676248X

Page Count: 166

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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