John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School and author of many works, including from Fortress Press Daniel (Hermeneia, 1994), Does the Bible Justify Violence?, (2004) and Encounters with Biblical Theology (2005).
Collins proceeds through the canon of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, judiciously presenting the current state of historical, archaeological, and literary understanding of the biblical text, and engaging the student in questions of significance and interpretation for the contemporary world.
The third edition is presented in a new and engaging format with new maps and images. An index has been added to the volume for the first time.
Collins vividly recounts how a Bedouin shepherd went searching for a lost goat and found the scrolls instead. He offers insight into debates over whether the Essenes were an authentic Jewish sect and explains why such questions are critical to our understanding of ancient Judaism and to Jewish identity. Collins explores whether the scrolls were indeed the property of an isolated, quasi-monastic community living at Qumran, or whether they more broadly reflect the Judaism of their time. And he unravels the impassioned disputes surrounding the scrolls and Christianity. Do they anticipate the early church? Do they undermine the credibility of the Christian faith? Collins also looks at attempts to "reclaim" the scrolls for Judaism after the full corpus became available in the 1990s, and at how the decades-long delay in publishing the scrolls gave rise to sensational claims and conspiracy theories.