Ancient Near Eastern ArtDominique Collon (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California, 1995), 247 pp., $24.95
Thinly disguised as a general art survey, this is really an extensive catalogue of the British Museum’s holdings from the Near East. But because the museum’s collection is one of the world’s most complete, the book works both ways. Dominique Collon competently sweeps through the museum’s hoard of artifacts dating from about 6750 B.C. to the Islamic conquest in 651 A.D. Beginners may find the rapid rush through eight millennium daunting, but will appreciate Collon’s careful descriptions of the 200 objects featured in color and black-and-white photos.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 2, Damascus Document, War Scroll, and Related Documentsed. James H. Charlesworth (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1995), 229 pp., $99.99
The Dead Sea Scrolls have fundamentally transformed our conception of both Judaism at the time of the Second Temple and early Christianity. Volume 2 of this series contains the Damascus Document. Found first in the Cairo Genizah and later at Qumran, this document relates the history of a second-century B.C. Jewish sect—perhaps the Essenes—that opposed the religious leaders in Jerusalem. The volume also contains the War Scroll, a detailed preparation for the eschatological battle between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, and an assortment of related fragments found at Qumran. An English translation, extensive footnotes and an informative introduction accompanies each document.