When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.

Five More Reasons To Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolls

3. The Dead Sea Scrolls excite the imagination. They speak of a Teacher of Righteousness, believed by some scholars to refer to either Jesus or James. They also speak of the Teacher of Righteousness’ antagonist, variously identified as the “Wicked Priest,” the “Man of Scoffing,” “The Man of the Lie,” “The Spouter of the Lie,” and “The Priest who Rebelled.” Some scholars believe these euphemisms refer to Paul, whom the scrolls describe as having been excommunicated from the early Christian church. Now . . . wait a minute. If Paul was an enemy of Jesus or James, and was excommunicated from the early Christian church, what does that say about Trinitarian Christian canon, which is primarily based on the teachings of Paul?

Five More Reasons To Get Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolls

2. Modern biblical scholarship demands re-evaluation of the Old and New Testaments. Scholars such as Bart D. Ehrman and Bruce Metzger have exposed numerous errors and inconsistencies in both the Old and New Testaments. Some of these errors are significant enough to challenge orthodox Jewish and Trinitarian Christian beliefs. In the context of this scriptural and canonical uncertainty, every bit of evidence helps. Again, the Dead Sea Scrolls help in this regard.

Five More Reasons to Get Excited about the Dead Sea Scrolls

1. Modern discoveries shed light on their importance. The oldest and most authoritative New Testament manuscripts found to date, the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus codices (what’s a codex, plural: codices? A scriptural manuscript in book form, as opposed to scrolls), were discovered in the nineteenth century, long after the most popular version of the English Bible, the 1611 King James Version, was written. These codices throw into question or, in some cases, frankly negate issues that were assumed by many to be religious certainties. Given this new knowledge, biblical textual criticism is experiencing a resurgence of interest. Many new facts have been exposed, some of which are of such importance as to be considered religiously revolutionary. The Dead Sea Scrolls, like a critical piece of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, helps to fill in our understanding of the Christian Bible.

A thriller based in the Amazon jungle that raises issues of culture clash Reader's Review of The Returned

Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States)

The format of the story is that of an aged black man retelling the primary adventure of his youth. 

In 1965, before there were cell phones, GPS tracking devices and when the Amazon was truly a dense unexplored and unexploited region, a professor led a research team deep into the area. It was a prospecting expedition, paid for by a chemical company and their goal was to take soil samples and bring them back for study. The narrator is a black man named Nathan, his twin brother Mark has joined him in the expedition and they are at the lowest positions in the mission hierarchy. There are two reasons for this, the first is that they are students and the second is that they are black. Two of the other members of the expedition are white boys from the south, full of all the prejudicial views such people of the time grew up with, after all it is 1965.

Once they leave the river and begin the trek through the forest, the danger begins. With the exception of their translator that has been given the name Tonto, none of their guides can be trusted. When they arrive at a native village, their reception is always problematic; they have no idea if they will be aided as friends or killed as enemies. With the exception of their professor, none of the members of the expedition has had any experience in surviving in the jungle.

Death stalks them at every turn, sometimes it slithers, other times it swims, but most of the time it walks on two legs and resembles their form. As the difficulties mount, the white men come to depend on the two black men and a strong bond is formed as they must struggle to find their way through the jungle and avoid the many dangers.

The story is a thriller that will keep your attention and there is a second tense moment that occurs decades later when Nathan is forced to come literally face-to-face with the consequences of his actions during the expedition. So much has changed in the Amazon in those decades and going back now means that you have the aid of modern devices such as cell phones and GPS trackers. The Amazon area has also dramatically changed, development has moved deep into the forest and displaced many native tribes.

Adventures like this can now only be undertaken in retrospect, as the modern world has encroached on nearly every location. This one reminds us of what happens when cultures clash, even when the clash is not physical. It is a great story of adventure, struggle and a form of triumph.

Reader's Review: A truly factual fiction

Hashim Sulieman (WNY, NJ USA)

The Eighth Scroll is a factual fiction, based on true accounts, presents factual information in a way that reads like a novel: a combination of storytelling and reporting. Intellectually challenging. Discusses Faith on a logical base. Connects dots or simply raises a fundamental point.
I was fascinated by the style, enormous and rich information. You will be certain the author had actually traveled and studied history , culture and scriptures. It is rather a scientific research review than a novel. I dug on Wikipedia a lot - and still!.

Author’s Note on the Dead Sea (i.e., Qumran) Scrolls and the “Teacher of Righteousness”

From the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Damascus Document and the Pesharim (“commentaries,” singular: pesher) date the Essene community’s birth to 390 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BCE, that would put the community’s inception at 196 BCE (before the Common Era—the zero point of the Gregorian calendar). These documents describe a “Teacher of Righteousness” having appeared twenty years later, which would place him at 176 BCE: “. . . yet for twenty years they (i.e., the Essenes) were like blind men groping for the way. And God observed their deeds, that they sought him with a whole heart, and he raised for them a Teacher of Righteousness . . .”

Other scholars consider these dates unreliable, point out that both Jesus Christ and his disciple, James, could be considered “Teachers of Righteousness,” and suggest that one of these two might be the Teacher referred to in the Dead Sea scrolls. To support this assertion, they point out that numerical errors in the Bible are not only abundant, but canonized.

For example, II Samuel 8:4 and I Chronicles 18:4 describe the same event in biblical history, but one documents 700 horsemen, and the other 7,000. Are we to assume that somewhere in time, a scribe flubbed a zero in copying the biblical manuscripts? No, and for a simple-enough reason. Numbers in ancient Hebrew were written longhand. “Seven hundred” in ancient Hebrew is ‘sheba’ me’ah’ and “seven thousand” is “sheba’ eleph.

Numerical errors in the Old and New Testament manuscripts are word disparities, not numerical disparities. The Bible authors did not employ the so-called Arabic numerals, which were not yet invented, and the mathematically revolutionary zero dates to 933 CE in any case.

So is the above error an isolated example? Not at all. II Samuel 23:8 and I Chronicles 11:11 differ between 300 or 800 men; II Samuel 24:9 and I Chronicles 21:5 differ between 800,000 and 1,100,000 in one instance and between 500,000 and 470,000 in another; I Kings 4:26 and II Chronicles 9:25 differ between 40,000 and 4,000. And these are just a few of the more glaring numerical errors in the Bible—disparities of 6,700 in one case, 500 in another, peaking at a whopping discrepancy of 300,000 and then dropping back down to a still spectacular error of 36,000.

In the face of such obvious discrepancies, scholars reasonably argue that an error of two hundred years falls well within the realm of scriptural tolerance.

So could the “Teacher of Righteousness” described in the Dead Sea Scrolls be Jesus or James? And could the “Wicked Priest,” the “Man of Scoffing,” “The Man of the Lie,” “The Spouter of the Lie,” and “The Priest who Rebelled” all refer to Jesus’ antagonist, Paul? Could those who “seek smooth things” be a euphemism for Paul’s followers, in line with the quote, “This concerns those who were unfaithful together with the Liar, in that they did not listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God?”

If we understand “the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God” to refer to revelation, then yes, we can very well match these descriptors with Jesus and Paul, not on the basis of scriptural dating, which can be inconclusive, but on the basis of the old adage, “if the shoe fits, wear it.”

After all, the Damascus Document reveals that the “Teacher of Righteousness” claimed to be the one through whom God would convey “the hidden things in which Israel had gone astray” (DC 3.12-15). And was this not Jesus’ declared purpose—his raison d’ĂȘtre? Was it not Jesus Christ who told us that he was not sent “. . . except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” (Matthew 15:24) And is this not the whole point behind the chain of revelation—to correct the corruption of preceding revelation, at each and every interval?

Further discussion is beyond the scope of a work of fiction. However, for those who wish to pursue the subject, I offer two books of comparative religion, MisGod’ed and God’ed, to be read in that order.

And may God guide all those who turn to Him in sincerity, seeking the truth of His revelation.

Reader's Review: Third book I've read by this author


Hooked and intrigued from the moment the elder spoke to Jacob .. But, I don't like spoilers nor the subjective views of others (with agendas) it's easy to see why this is a best seller and I can think of only one way to separate fact from those attempting to poison the well!


Khirbet Qumran, meaning ‘ruin of’ Qumran, sits on a plateau at the top of an irregular border of limestone cliffs beside the Dead Sea. Many of these cliffs contain caves which, given their location, are accessible only with difficulty. To the West lies the Judean Desert, and to the North is a mountain that houses the Qumran caves numbered 1, 2, 3, and 11.

Five Reasons to Get Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolss


The keepers of the scrolls were slaughtered after hiding them away in the caves. In essence, they died to preserve the scrolls. Sooo . . . they must have held the scrolls with slightly more reverence than, say, the scriptural equivalent of comic books, right? So what was so precious about the Dead Sea Scrolls – not to us, but to their keepers? Was there a deep, dark secret they were willing to die for? Or were the scrolls just that holy? Either way, we should want to know.

Five Reasons to Get Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolls


Major interest groups don’t want you to know about them. But let’s face it: If someone tells you not to look at something, isn’t that the first thing you want to do? Well, many interest groups don’t want you to look, or at least, not too deeply. Visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits, admire their preservation, appreciate their antiquity, but then move on to the Phoenician glass exhibit. Do anything but delve into the scrolls’ history, their meaning. Some scholars who have disclosed secrets contrary to the sanctioned “official version” have claimed the whistleblower punishment of academic persecution. Are free-thinkers like Robert Eisenman and Michael Baigent quacks, as Israel’s religious authorities would like us to believe, or clear-minded scholars who sound the call of reason? Eisenman’s The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians makes clear his lofty level of scholarship, while Baigent and Leigh’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception renders plausible the claim of a “conspiracy of consensus.” For several decades, scholars decried Israel’s delay in releasing the scrolls to the public; the work of these authors, among others, provides powerful evidence to support the theory of an academic scandal. Why were Israel’s authorities so slow to release the Dead Sea Scrolls? If you believe the revisionist scholars, Judaic and Trinitarian Christian authorities have good reason to fear the secrets of the scrolls.

Five Reasons to Get Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolls


There may be undiscovered scrolls still hiding out in the Holy Land. Scholars estimate as many as twenty of the caves at Qumran were lost, together with their contents, due to collapse. Being collapsed, these caves cannot be found unless excavated by accident. Caches of scrolls may exist elsewhere in the Holy Land, as well. However, Israel’s stranglehold on this flow of information has resulted in scholars leveling charges of academic and/or religious conspiracy.

Five Reasons To Get Excited About The Dead Sea Scrolls


They’re incomplete. Even the best preserved scrolls have holes in them and are missing sections of text. The library of Dead Sea Scrolls looks like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Who knows what essential information is missing? Nonetheless, the texts we have hint at mind-boggling religious concepts.