#19—Investigating the Dead Sea Scrolls, with John J. Collins [MIPodcast]

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. The scrolls include the oldest biblical manuscripts ever found. Most intriguingly, they date from the crucial transitional period when Christianity began to emerge from Judaism. They’ve been the focus of rigorous debate and research ever since they came back from the dead, as it were, in the 1940s. The Maxwell Institute’s Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts has worked on digitizing projects to provide easier access to the scrolls for over a decade. Last year the Institute published a nicely-illustrated beginner’s guide to the scrolls. This episode of the Maxwell Institute Podcast features Dr. John J. Collins, one of the world’s foremost Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. He joins us to discuss how the scrolls have impacted our understanding of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. What are the scrolls? Who did they come from? Why have scholars found them so fascinating? What can they tell us about the world of Judaism and Jesus of Nazareth? An amazing discovery; political and religious controversy; academic squabbles and intriguing possibilities—you’ll hear all about it in this primer on the Dead Sea Scrolls. (A handy overview of the scrolls is also available at CPART’s webpage.)

    Special Episodes: “Lives of Great Religious Books”

    This series of MIPodcast episodes features interviews with authors of volumes in Princeton University Press’s impressive “Lives of Great Religious Books” series. Leading experts examine the origins of books like the Book of Mormon, Genesis, or Augustine’s Confessions. They trace shifts in the reception, influence, and interpretation of these landmark texts. As the Institute’s mission statement suggests, we perform scholarly study of religious texts and traditions in order to deepen understanding and nurture discipleship among Latter-day Saints and to promote mutual respect and goodwill among people of all faiths. By looking at other religious texts from a variety of perspectives—worthwhile in their own right—we come to understand other faiths better, as well as our own.

    About John J. Collins

    Dr. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University. He published The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography as part of Princeton University Press’s “Lives of Great Religious Books” series in 2013.