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.

Archaeology journal says burial box of Jesus' brother is genuine

Israeli Consul General Meir Romem inspects the ancient stone box that was purported to hold the bones of James, brother of Jesus, when it was on display last year at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. (AP Photo/Frank Gunn / June 13, 2012)

A limestone box bearing the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in Aramaic appears to be genuine, the prestigious Biblical Archaeology Review in a long story written by editor Hershel Shanks. The ossuary, dating from AD 63, has been highly controversial, with Israeli authorities claiming it is a forgery and prosecuting antiquities dealer Oded Golan, who originally sold it. That trial ended in March when a judge acquitted him of forging the inscription on the ossuary, saying that the prosecutor had not proved claims that the ossuary was a fake. Shanks has provided no new evidence of the ossuary's authenticity, but he does refute some of the government's key arguments in that trial.

The 20-inch-long box is slightly trapezoidal in shape, wider at the top than the bottom. The lid is slightly convex. Such boxes were used in the 1st century to hold bones after a person's flesh had melted away in a cave. The controversial box was discovered in a private collection by paleographer Andre Lemaire of the Sorbonne University in Paris, but it has never been clear where the box was originally found. The discovery was first announced in the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review in October 2002 and, shortly thereafter, the ossuary was placed on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in conjunction with a religious meeting.

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A Very Enjoyable Read: Reader's Review The Returned


Truthfully, action-adventure is not my preferred genre of reading, but this book is just fabulous. The character development in the beginning is not tedious, as it very well could have been, but rather light-hearted. I had the feeling that something very important was going to happen, but that I was being eased into it and not thrust headfirst into complications. 

Very well written story about race relations, prejudice, and trust, with an exciting premise and believable developments. I definitely recommend this!

Pottery Artifacts from the Qumran Site

This type of lamp was found in strata associated with Herod's reign (37-4 B.C.E.). A similar lamp was uncovered in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, in strata dating to the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.), thus raising questions as to the date of the lamp.

Characteristic features of this lamp type are a circular wheel-made body, a flat unmarked base, and a large central filling hole. The spatulate nozzle was hand-built separately and later attached to the body. Traces of a palm-fiber wick were found in the lamp's nozzle.

Pottery with fiber wick First century B.C.E.-first century C.E.

Pottery Artifacts from the Qumran Site

Locating pottery, coins, and written material at an archaeological site establishes a relative and an absolute chronological framework for a particular culture. Pottery vessels found in the immediate area of Qumran and items from the surrounding caves and cliff openings are identical. The area seems to have been a regional center and most likely was supplied by a single pottery workshop.

This elongated barrel-shaped jar has a ring base, a ribbed body, a very short wide neck, and two loop handles. The vessel was probably used to store provisions.

Amazing Mix of Adventure and Cultural Clash Reader's Review The Returned:

An amazing amazonian adventure book that combines two very interesting lines of developement. The adventure part guides through the group through the jungle full of many dangerous encounters where dead waits behind every tree. The cultural differences with the locals gives them both an opportunity and a challenge.

After all things that have happened to him during the summer vacation in South America, Nathan is still willing to go back and dig more for the truth. This leads him to even more challenges.

A book you should read!

Peter Nicks

Dead Sea Scrolls From Far and Wide?

Many modern archaeologists such as Cargill believe the Essenes authored some, but not all, of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Recent archeological evidence suggests disparate Jewish groups may have passed by Qumran around A.D. 70, during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, which destroyed the Temple and much of the rest of the city.

A team led by Israeli archaeologist Ronnie Reich recently discovered ancient sewers beneath Jerusalem. In those sewers they found artifacts—including pottery and coins—that they dated to the time of the siege.

The finds suggest that the sewers may have been used as escape routes by Jews, some of whom may have been smuggling out cherished religious scrolls, according to Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Importantly, the sewers lead to the Valley of Kidron. From there it's only a short distance to the Dead Sea—and Qumran.

The jars in which the scrolls were found may provide additional evidence that the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of disparate sects' texts.

Jan Gunneweg of Hebrew University in Jerusalem performed chemical analysis on vessel fragments from the Qumran-area caves.

"We take a piece of ceramic, we grind it, we send it to a nuclear reactor, where it's bombarded with neutrons, then we can measure the chemical fingerprint of the clay of which the pottery was made," Gunneweg says in the documentary.

"Since there is no clay on Earth with the exact chemical composition—it is like DNA—you can point to a specific area and say this pottery was made here, that pottery was made over here."

Gunneweg's conclusion: Only half of the pottery that held the Dead Sea Scrolls is local to Qumran.

Reader's Review: The Eighth Scroll was SUPER!!!

Book Lover (AZ)

After learning about the new book 'The Eighth Scroll' by Dr. Laurence B. Brown, I looked for it at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores in our town. Unfortunately I couldn't find it available in bookstores or the library, but fortunately I was able to get it from Amazon.com. I couldn't put it down till I had finished it in less than two days. It was totally enjoyable, gripping with suspense, exciting and enlightening.

I think it would make a terrific movie!

Who Is the Teacher of Righteousness?

The Dead Sea Scrolls frequently refer to a mysterious figure called the “Teacher of Righteousness” (Moreh ha-Tsedek in Hebrew). According to the most widely held view, the Teacher of Righteousness founded the Dead Sea Scroll sect (the sect is usually identified with the Essenes). In this common view, the Teacher of Righteousness organized the Community (the Yahad) and composed many of its most important works.

The nemesis of the Teacher of Righteousness is another shadowy figure called the Wicked Priest (ha-Kohen ha-Rasha). He is also known by a number of other epithets, including the Lion of Wrath, the Liar, the Spreader of Lies and the Man of Scoffing.

Still following the standard interpretation, the Wicked Priest and the Teacher of Righteousness are thought to be historical figures. But that is where the consensus ends. There is no agreement over who they were.

The conjectures over their identities began long before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered near Qumran in 1947. What some call the first Dead Sea Scroll was found half a century earlier, in 1896, not near the Dead Sea, but in a storeroom for worn-out texts (called a genizah) of the Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo.a The Cairo Genizah, as it is known, contained 200,000 pages of Hebrew manuscripts, two of which were medieval copies of what appeared to be a much older document. They were published in 1910 by the man primarily responsible for recovering the Cairo Genizah, Solomon Schechter.b In 1896 Schechter was affiliated with Cambridge University in England, where most of the documents still reside. He speculated that the two medieval documents were late copies of a work that originated with a Jewish sect whose members lived before the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. He called this work a Zadokite Work; it subsequently became known as the Damascus Document or (the Cairo Document).

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The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ten Easy Steps

10)    So this was the excitement over the Dead Sea Scrolls: If the Gospel of the “Teacher” validated Jesus Christ’s prophethood, it could destroy Judaism. At the same time, Trinitarian Christianity and all concerned interests would be threatened, because Trinitarian Christianity is based more on the teachings of Paul than of Jesus. A gospel that differentiates between the two and condemns Paul in the process would upset Trinitarian canon. Israel, the Vatican, the Anglican Church, and even the American government would be shaken to the roots, since Trinitarian Christianity is the majority religion and a dominant political force. This makes us wonder: To what lengths would these great world powers go in order to conceal the truths that are not to their liking? Only history, and an honest appraisal of the Dead Sea Scrolls, can answer this question.

The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ten Easy Steps

9)    Hence the excitement over the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls describe a Wicked Priest who opposes the Teacher of Righteousness. Many scholars believe this “Wicked Priest” was Paul, and the “Teacher of Righteousness” was either Jesus Christ or his brother and disciple, James. In fact, some scholars believe the Dead Sea Scrolls document Paul’s excommunication from the early Christian church.

The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ten Easy Steps

8)    For example, Jesus taught Old Testament Law. Paul negated it. Jesus declared himself the ‘son of man.’ Eighty-eight times. Pauline theologians labeled him the ‘son of God.’ Jesus taught the oneness of God, and prayer to him alone. Paul suggested the Trinity and elevated Jesus to the level of intercessor. Jesus said he was “not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Paul proclaimed him a universal prophet. And the list goes on.

Dead Sea Scrolls in Ten Easy Steps

7)    The first concept threatens Judaism, and the second, Trinitarian Christianity. 

Why? Because a Jewish gospel that confirms the prophethood of Jesus would threaten Judaism, and therefore Israel’s national identity. Similarly, a gospel that exposes Paul as a corrupter of the teachings of Jesus could shake Trinitarian Christianity: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches alike. 

Again, why? Because, contrary to what many believe, Paul wasn’t Jesus’ ‘second-in-command.’ In fact, they never even met, yet after he was gone, Paul claimed to speak in Jesus’ name, and the people in power took what he said and canonized it. But that doesn’t make it true. Every tenet of Trinitarian Christianity is based on the teachings of Paul, even though Jesus never said he was God, partner with God, or even God’s son. Nowhere did Jesus teach the doctrines of the Trinity, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Atonement. All of these tenets came from Paul, or from the Pauline theologians who followed in his wake. The teachings of Paul, in fact, contradict the teachings of Jesus, much in the same way that the New Testament informs us of Paul’s conflict with James, Peter and Barnabas.