A few years ago, after many years anticipation, this book made the Dead Sea Scrolls available in a popular format in the English language. The scrolls are fascinating reading, most particularly for the insight they give into the Essenes. The Essenes were once thought to be a peaceful and enlightened sect with much in common with Buddhists, but the Dead Sea Scrolls paint a very different picture. They had much more in common with the hierarchical and dictatorial medieval church. Amongst other things, this book shows the Essenes believed that sex is sinful and should be avoided as far as possible, and believed in pre-destination, salvation by grace alone, and everlasting damnation for their enemies in a place of fire.
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The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, by G. Vermes
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