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The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature, 2nd Ed.
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2010 / Paperback
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John J. Collins in The Sceptor and the Star offers an up-to-date review of Jewish messianic expectations around the time of Jesus, in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
He breaks these expectations down into categories: Davidic, priestly, and prophetic. Based on a small number of prophetic oracles and reflected in the various titles and names assigned to the messiah, the Davidic model holds a clear expectation that the messiah figure would play a militant role. In sectarian circles, the priestly model was far more prominent. Jesus of Nazareth, however, showed more resemblance to the prophetic messiah during his historical career, identified as the Davidic "Son of Man" primarily after his death.
In this second edition, Collins revises the discussion of Jesus and early Christianity, completely rewritten a chapter on a figure who claims to have a throne in heaven, and has added a brief discussion of the recently published and controversial Vision of Gabriel.
-Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
"John J. Collins has completely updated his classic book on messianism, interacting with the many discussions on the topic of the last fifteen years, including the newly published 'Vision of Gabriel.' This second edition of The Scepter and the Star will enlighten a whole new generation. . . . The reference work for years to come."
Saul M. Olyan
"This new edition of Collins's classic contains updated bibliography and notes throughout, as well as a very useful and circumspect assessment of the recent work of Israel Knohl. Reflecting a fine command of the scholarship and characteristically excellent critical judgment, The Scepter and the Star is still the best work available on early messianism."
Mark S. Smith
-New York University
"Yet another of Collins's must-have books for students of the Bible and early Jewish literature."
George J. Brooke
-University of Manchester
"This second edition updates an authoritative and accessible guide to the messianic figures of the Dead Sea Scrolls and related literature. Collins's judgments are well balanced, and his conclusions concerning the tantalizing evidence of the fragments of the Scrolls are substantial but healthily tentative. The bibliography alone, some forty percent larger than that of the first edition, is a major resource for all students engaged in the study of early Jewish messianism. Most welcome."
Lawrence H. Schiffman
-New York University
"A must-read for anyone interested in the early history of Judaism and the development of nascent Christianity."
"Since its first publication in 1995, The Scepter and the Star has become arguably the standard guide to the messianic views of Qumran and, more broadly, Second Temple Judaism. That position will be ensured and enhanced by the present new edition, with its extensively revised and updated notes and bibliography and its new or revised discussions of key issues and sources. Collins has a remarkable talent for incisive and balanced analysis an ability to see the many sides of an argument and to read the ancient sources in fresh and penetrating ways. A most welcome book indeed!"
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