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The late Father Bargil Pixner’s well known proposals regarding the location of Jerusalem’s Essene Gate and the Church of the Apostles on Mt. Zion have received a measure of popular acceptance, including in the pages of BAR. This lecture offers an updated evaluation of Pixner’s theory in light of recent textual studies and the findings from the ongoing Mt. Zion excavations.
In this wide-ranging interview, Hershel Shanks sits down with 90-year-old priest and New Testament scholar Joseph Fitzmyer to reflect on Fitzmyer’s work with the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem in 1957 and 1958. The still-lively Fitzmyer recalls those years and more while relating anecdotes about the creation of a concordance from the scroll fragments and the publication team’s tentative transcriptions of the texts. It was these valuable transcriptions that eventually allowed the scrolls to be released to the public.
Many scholars agree on the odd symbols found over the years: they represent the human imprint left by Jewish Christians. But some others like Biblical minimalists question whether the unusual strokes of a seemingly Latin cross aren’t merely remnants from a painter cleaning his brush. Professor Strange will enlighten you with stories and images from many sites in and around Jerusalem, stressing the importance of archaeological methodology to come to a reasonable conclusion of what has been found.
This video features Hershel Shanks’s engaging interview with Dead Sea Scrolls experts Weston Fields and George Brooke, who present key findings about the scrolls and the fascinating story behind their study and interpretation. Shanks focuses on British scholar John Marco Allegro, a maverick and self-proclaimed publicist who contended the scrolls could relate to early doctrines of Christianity. Fields and Brooke also discuss the controversial letter written to and published in The Times (of London) by five Dead Sea Scrolls team members disassociating themselves from Allegro and his opinions. Later, they comment on the unique Copper Scroll with its Hebrew “treasure map” listing valuable lost items from the first-century C.E., likely from the Jerusalem Temple. Is the list fact, as Allegro passionately believed, or just a fantasy?
Professor Flint takes you on a journey from Jerusalem to the wilderness of Judea—and into the caves of Qumran, where many of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 by Bedouin shepherds. He recounts the story of their discovery, reviews various Scroll manuscripts and shares an interesting analysis comparing the Old Testament books favored by the Jewish Essenes versus the early Christians. Flint focuses on The Book of Isaiah, one of the three most popular Biblical books appreciated by these similar, yet very different groups. Quoting the well-known verse Isaiah 40:3: “A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God,” Flint explains how all four gospel writers included parts of this verse in their texts.