A free 8-episode video series explores what we have learned about early Christianity from studying these ancient texts.
A new video series is examining the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls in relation to the life of Christ. The 8-episode series, Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, explores what the scrolls reveal about Jesus and the sacraments while putting them in modern context for believers and non-believers alike.
The series is formatted like a talk show, led by biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma and Franciscan University of Steubenville president Father Dave Pivonka, TOR. The two experts discuss the scrolls and their insights on the Essenes, a Jewish community that is believed to have written them. The Essenes lived in the centuries just before and during the life of Jesus, and their works had great influence on early Christianity.
In a press release from Franciscan University of Steubenville, who produced the series, Father Pivonka commented:
“Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls but don’t understand why they are so important,” said Father Pivonka. “The writings in the scrolls are like a window, like peeking through a little keyhole, for fresh insights into St. John the Baptist, St. John the Apostle, the Blessed Mother, and into the life and times of Jesus.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The scrolls were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1946, in a series of caves not far from the Dead Sea. Over the course of the latter half of the 20th century, more than 1,000 scrolls were excavated in varying levels of decay.
Of the Dead Sea Scrolls content, Dr. Bergsma, a professor of theology at Franciscan University, said:
“About one-quarter of the scrolls were books of the Bible, including a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah in the original language. The scrolls shed light on all kinds of details in the Gospel narratives, such as many curious features of John the Baptist’s person and ministry, and the particulars of Jesus’ words and deeds at the Last Supper.”
The series, Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, is eight episodes long. Each episode examines a different aspect of Christianity in relation to the scrolls. Topics include the Coming of the Messiah, Baptism, Marriage, Celibacy, Holy Orders and more. In addition, the videos delve into the relationship between the scrolls and the writings of St. Paul.
Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls is now available free of charge at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s YouTube channel and The Ministry of the Wild Goose. The DVD of the entire series is available for $24.99 from the Franciscan University Bookstore.