The first and only book to explore the concept of the Messiah in light of the radical new evidence just discovered in the recently released Dead Sea Scrolls. Recent figures in the news, such as the self-proclaimed messiah David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, and the prophetic Orthodox Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, are confounding reminders of the ...
The first and only book to explore the concept of the Messiah in light of the radical new evidence just discovered in the recently released Dead Sea Scrolls. Recent figures in the news, such as the self-proclaimed messiah David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, and the prophetic Orthodox Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, are confounding reminders of the forceful vitality of messianism in the modern world. They are also sobering indicators that contemporary society needs to take seriously and understand the messianic mind set. In "The Scepter And The Star," biblical scholar John J. Collins unearths the seeds of messianic thought in the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other ancient literature.Many of Collins's conclusions hinge on his recent discovery of profoundly important material in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1991, nearly fifty years after they were originally folind, the entire collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls was finally released to the public. Collins was one of the first scholars to examine the scrolls and realized that they contained enormously significant messianic texts. "The Scepter And The Star" Will be the first scholarly work to explore fully the impact this new evidence has on our understanding of Jewish apocalypticism and messianism. In addition, Collins examines the crucial links and similarities between Jewish and Christian models of the messiah. How did Jewish communities, living in the turbulent century before the birth of Christ, envision the end of time? Did Jewish messianic figures influence the development of the Christian Messiah? Here, in careful detail and cogerit, accessible analysis, Collins explains the birth of messianic thoughtand its repercussions for Jews and Christians alike in ancient--as well as modern-times.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-03-13 In this fascinating survey, Collins traces the history and development of the idea of messiah from its earliest appearances in the Hebrew Bible to its culmination in the Judaism and Christianity of the first century c.e. Collins examines biblical and extrabiblical texts to explore the great variety of mantles, from eschatological prophet to Son of Man to Son of God, that messianic figures have worn. In his readings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Collins discovers, contrary to traditional readings, that the messiah of that community is identified more with a teacher of righteousness than with an apocalyptic prophet who will lead the forces of light in the final battle against the forces of darkness. In addition, the Judaic belief in both a priestly messiah and a kingly (Davidic) messiah in the first century c.e. militates, Collins believes, against any easy identification of Jesus solely as Davidic. Finally, the author argues that careful study of the Scrolls may yet yield the common ground out of which the messianic ideas of Judaism and Christianity developed. Marked by judicious and accessible readings of primary texts, Collins's work is a significant contribution to Doubleday's outstanding biblical reference series. (Apr.)
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