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.

Overlooked relics may help unearth Dead Sea Scrolls' authors

Study of garments found with scrolls in Qumran caves seems to support contested theory of separatist Essene authorship.

By Nir Hasson

Dr. Orit Shamir of the Israel Antiquities Authority with some of the cloths found with the Dead Sea Scrolls that have now been analyzed. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves in the Judean Desert, tattered pieces of fabric were found with them, sometimes wrapping them and sometimes stuffed into the jars in which they were found. Scholars, focusing on the scrolls, arguably the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century, ascribed little importance to the fabric.

But in recent years, Dr. Orit Shamir of the Israel Antiquitied Authority and Naama Sukenik (a relative of Eliezer Sukenik, who identified the scrolls ) of Bar-Ilan University have shone their scholarly spotlight on the crumbling cloth. 

Soon to be published in the prestigious Dead Sea Discoveries journal, their conclusions will likely not put to rest the heated debate over the identity of the people who wrote the scrolls. But scholars who surmise that the ancient volumes were written by a separatist sect will find in the research support for their position.

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Reader's Review: Wonderful insightful novel with characters you can care about


Archaeological findings often bring the dead back to life and in many cases the truth to light as well. When Dr. Gerald Hanson receives an early morning phone call from one of his colleagues, Frank Tones, urging him to make haste to an old dig on Nubia, Hansen is immediately intrigued. Frank was known to have done some questionable things, but he is always able to find unexpected treasures during his excavations.

At fifteen, Gerald's son Michael is a bit of a prodigy, extremely intelligent, and becoming quite skilled in martial arts. He has been raised on archaeology digs, and is comfortable with them, but he does not like or trust Frank. After his mother death a few years previous, he has turned more towards religion, and his relationship with his father has strengthened.

Witty and jovial, they make their way to Nubia, only to find themselves in a land devoid of luxuries. Gerald is concerned with Michael's safety, Frank is not always on the up and up, but even so, Gerald is quite interested in his find. When they reach the camp, they find an unexpected visitor. Dr. Mardle, Director of Archaeology and Anthropology for Oxford is also there. A comrade and close friend to Frank he is visiting for a game of chess. Frank assures Gerald that the information he has will not be shared with Mardle, but when an argument ensues a bit later, Frank refuses to even talk to Gerald until morning.

For Gerald and his son, it is an eventful morning. Frank Tones is found dead of an apparent snake bite, but there are questions. Could it be murder? The cabbie that drove Gerald and Michael from the airport is dead in an apparent overdose. In addition, Gerald feels as though they are being followed. Called in to put together Frank papers for transport, Gerald discovers part of the secret Frank was planning to share. It deals with a religious secret that has been missing for thousands of years. However, he must leave it all behind; he cannot put Michael in further danger.

Fast-forward fifteen years, Gerald has died of an apparent heart attack several years earlier. When Franks daughter, and an old girlfriend of Michael's stops by to let him know she will continue the investigation into her father's death, Michael is determined to go with her. Diagnosed with cancer, she only has months to live. She disappears before Michael can prepare, and he is left to worry and wonder. When she too is found murdered, Michael knows he must put a stop to the madness. What is the secret that is worth the lives of so many men and women? Michael is determined to find the answers. With the help of a young librarian named June, Michael races against time to find the clues and the killers before his life too is at risk.

In The Eighth Scroll by Dr. Laurence B. Brown, we meet some marvelous and well-developed characters. Dr. Gerald Hanson is a father first and archaeologist second, and Brown has drawn an exceptional story line around his repartee and interplay with his son. He is an intelligent and funny person, and father and a widower who lost his wife. You can feel his loss and yet you can feel his guilt as well. Brown has drawn a character so true to life he seems real. I was devastated when the years move forward and he died of a heart attack. I felt his loss deeply.

Michael is a wonderful and courageous man. He lost his mother in a horrible way, and later his father. He has turned to religion and has written many books on his theories, and though it all he maintains his fitness through martial arts. It was something he did as a child and remained a form of comfort for him as he grew. He is funny and kind, and yet he pushes women away. Always feeling that those he loves, die early, he does not allow anyone to get close. Somehow, June makes it through, but even then, he continues to keep her at arm's length. He is thoughtful and sometimes temperamental, with just enough flaws to make his character immanently human.

I would recommend this book for the suspense and thriller fan, it is full of action and verve, but it is also peppered with religious and historical facts as well. You will be drawn deep into the Middle East religious communities, and brush shoulders with the Mossad and the CIA. The characters are audacious and charismatic, drawing you into the story. This would be a marvelous book for a reading group. It is fast paced and hard to put down, a must have for your library.

The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ten Easy Steps

3.)  Cut to recent history. In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd discovered seven scrolls in what is now known as Cave 1. After that, the race was on. Archaeologists tried to excavate the caves scientifically, while Bedouins plundered them for whatever they could sell. In 1952, a French Dominican named Roland de Vaux located Cave 4. That cave contained over 15,000 fragments of over 800 manuscripts. A year later, an international team of eight scholars was assembled, with De Vaux as project director. Thirteen years after that, in 1966, De Vaux’s team was publicly accused of obstructing release of the scrolls because the content is contrary to Trinitarian Christianity.


(L. Boer, 25 March 1954) Pay-day. De Vaux is sitting in front of a tent paying a local worker. Presumably the recipient is signing for receipt.

  This photo belongs to The Palestine Exploration Fund

The Dead Sea Scrolls, in Ten Easy Steps

2) Khirbet Qumran was occupied until 68 CE by the Essene Jews, one of the major schools of Jewish philosophy at that time. The complex was destroyed in 68 CE. Ashes from the burned reed rooftops and Roman arrowheads found at the site suggest a battle. The simple fact that nobody returned to recover the scrolls suggests a massacre. The timing fits, because the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire put the two at war from 66 to 73 CE.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, in Ten Easy Steps

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.

Never Before Seen Fragment of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Paleo Leviticus

img 0477 Dead Sea Scrolls At Fort Worth Baptist Seminary

A portion of the Dead Sea Scroll, on display at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. (Credit: Kristen Bergeron/KTVT)

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth is planning an exhibition in July featured 16 scroll fragments. Here's a sneak peak of a fragment not shown yet to the public.

The fragment is 14.5 centimeters long and 8 centimeters high. It was put on display for CBS 11 in the MacGorman Chapel.

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"Dangerous expedition through the Amazon in South America "Reader's Review of The Returned

Cy B. Hilterman "Cy. Hilterman" (Cherry Tree, PA United States)

When I started this book I was not sure if I would like it but on I continued and got into one of the most fascinating books I have read. To be in the Amazon area of South America on an expedition with nothing but jungle, heat, insects, animals, possibly cannibals, natives of unknown friendliness, and really not much positive in the area at all but danger lurking in every step. I think you can see why my mind changed quite fast when I really got into this expedition. The first expedition occurred when Nathan and Mark, both African Americans, were young and went on an expedition with a few college friends and professors all of whom were white or of mixed race. At first the brothers were outcasts because of their color but to most on the expedition, they proved themselves and mostly fit in and were a great help on the trek through such a dangerous area. The story started current day with Nathan telling his family about his adventurous trip in the Amazon so many years ago. The family was all ears and loaded with questions.

The two brothers themselves had their differences, Nathan being a leader and not afraid to express his thoughts and opinions with Mark the opposite. They got into their own battles. I think Tonto, the name Nathan gave to one of their guides, was my favorite character in the bunch. He was faithful and always there for them when needed to try to interpret the many languages they would run across as they met many tribes. Their original party was a mixed bag of various origins with varied thoughts and ideas of life and now, the jungle. The group lost some members through battles and some from illness. There are no doctors in a huge jungle. They did eventually meet a tribe that cautiously let them stay with them but neither trusted the other. Before they had left, Nathan was tricked into being their shaman when their current shaman, the tribes' spiritual leader and also one of the main advisors, was killed. The thing that Nathan didn't understand was that the shaman had to marry the chieftains' favorite daughter. How to get out of this mess? Through much planning and good fortune, what was left for the expedition arranged secretly to get away without being noticed. They still had a huge trek to get clear of the area. Eventually they tricked their way out of the area and made it back home.

Forty-years later Nathan wanted to return to see if any of his family was alive. The group was much older now and a lot less spry. Much had occurred during this second trip, some good, and some bad. The tribe had diminished in numbers and very few lived long enough to have survived the time when the expedition had previously been there. Now after a strange second trip, they had to plan their getaway once again. Eventually their plans were set. In a huge area such as the Amazon, nothing goes as planned and this case was no exception. Join the group as they continue their attempts to get home. A very good book.

Dead Sea Scrolls

An Israel Antiquities Authority, IAA, worker presents fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, at the IAA offices at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls are available online. Israel's national museum and the international web giant Google are behind the project, which saw five scrolls go online Monday. 

An Israel Antiquities Authority, IAA, worker presents fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, at the IAA offices at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Sept. 26, 2011. Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls are available online. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP Photo) 

In this undated two picture combo made of photographs released by Israel's Antiquities Authority, fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls before infrared imaging, right, and after, left, are seen. AP Photo/Israel Antiquities Authority

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls

So, now that we've made our way though the Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls where does all this leave us? This leaves us with the greatest archeological find of the twentieth century – a library of scriptures with an intriguing and bloody history, which have been the subject of some of the slickest scientific analysis known to man. Paradoxically, these scrolls convey a message of such importance that the Jewish keepers of the scrolls two thousand years ago died to preserve them, yet modern Jewish custodians struggle to convoluted or conceal the religiously-revolutionary, theologically-threatening secret of the scrolls. And the final step in the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be exactly this – exposing their secret to the world.

"Amazonian Atmospheres "Reader's Review of The Returned


The atmosphere of this book is downright amazing. Right from the start you'll find yourself drawn into the world portrayed by Nathan. The pacing and description of this book is exquisite, ensuring that you'll immediately be drawn into the deep Amazon like Nathan and stuck in a prospecting expedition from hell. Still on the pacing, there's neither anything rushed nor ever is it plodding along at a crawl. In fact, it's reached that perfect pace that keeps the reader constantly hooked and unwilling to ever put down the book even for short periods of time. Each of the members of the expedition are interesting in their own way, and written well enough to make you care even if they're not the nicest people to be stuck with.

This book is definitely different in a good way: all the elements of horror, suspense, and mystery are tightly worked together to form the central plot without simply attempting to shoe horn in random gimmicks to keep the reader's attention. And boy does it work. Once you pick up and start reading this, you're not going to want to even get up and grab a snack without dragging the story with you.

Anyway, after grabbing this book on a whim this story turned out surprisingly entertaining and wholly engaging. If this is a sign that the rest of his stories are anything like this one, I will definitely be perusing his other stories, and looking forward to future stories from Mr. Brown.