Our latest Schoolhouse Review Crew review opportunity came with a fascinating DVD from New Liberty Videos called Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The producers of this video have put together three compelling presentations in this DVD:
- Joel Lampe’s “Dead Sea Scrolls”
- Dr. Frank Seekins’ “Hebrew Word Pictures”
- Dr. Craig Lampe’s “The Forbidden Book”
These lectures on different aspects of the Bible and its history will engage viewers of any age (although some material may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive viewers). I’d like to share with you some of the things we found most interesting about Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (At least, as much as I can without giving away the whole story!)
“Dead Sea Scrolls”
Joel Lampe gives us a compelling history lesson in the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” We learn about what the 11 caves of the Qumran discoveries contained; not only books of the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, but also scrolls containing works on astronomy, science, math, hygiene and cooking. How many scrolls were found? What book of the Old Testament is the only one not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls caves? What events concerning the 10th Roman Legion, Flavius Silva and the Jews caused these scrolls to lie hidden, unfound and unknown, in caves for thousands upon thousands of years?
We also learn about the materials on which the ancient scribes wrote, and how current-day scholars have been aided in their painstaking reconstruction of the scrolls by both infrared and DNA. A multimedia presentation gives us greater understanding of the geography and history of this area northwest of the Dead Sea in Israel, and of how the fragments of the scrolls are being carefully put back together. We also learn about the role Herod’s summer palace Masada played in the the story of this most important archaeological find, hidden for so long.
“Hebrew Word Pictures”
Dr. Frank Seekins introduces us to the treasures hidden in the simple letters of the Hebrew language. If, like me, you’ve always relied on Strong’s Concordance‘s English transliteration of Hebrew words in your Bible studies, to understand the Hebrew words you’re looking up, you’ll find this portion of the video amazing. He tells us that these Hebrew letters are not only symbols of the Hebrew alphabet; they produce word pictures which communicate even more than the meanings of the words when they are put together. We’re reminded that Hebrew is read right to left and that even English letters come from this origin, from the Hebrew and Phoenician alphabets. Dr. Seekins also teaches us that Hebrew is a relationship-based language. Isn’t that appropriate for the language spoken by God’s chosen people; the God whose very desire for relationship with us is indicated and underlined by the Hebrew language?
I don’t want to give away too much because you’ll find this teaching truly captivating. But there is an enormous measure of meaning in both the pictures made by letters, and the Hebrew letters themselves in some of the words Dr. Seekins discusses with us; especially in the words for man, woman, amen, and especially Abba.
“The Forbidden Book”
In “The Forbidden Book,” Dr. Craig Lampe takes us on a journey of the history of the Christian church, and how the Bible survived over the hundreds of years between the fourth century all the way through the times of the Reformation and the Renaissance. We learn about Constantine and his vision of the coming challenges to the Christian faith and Jerome and his scriptorium. Dr. Lampe takes us through the Dark Ages and into the works, lives and deaths of John Wycliffe, Erasmus, Martin Luther and William Tyndale.
How did the Bible survive, as true and authoritative Scripture through these eras? Watch this incredible video to find out. You’ll come away even more grateful for the Bible that we can so easily own and read for ourselves today, when you learn about how impossible it often was for the common man or woman to have a copy of the Bible in his or her own language—and be able to read it!
How we used this DVD:
Jackson and I have spent some time this year studying both Biblical Hebrew and the history of the Christian church. So, Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a perfect addition to our studies. (However, even if we hadn’t been studying those things, the DVD would have been an excellent addition!) We watched the DVD’s episodes on three separate days; not because we couldn’t have watched the one-hour video in one sitting, but because there is so much to digest from each of the three episodes in it, and because each episode covers a distinct topic. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m sure we’ll return to it again and again either for edification and encouragement, or because we’re studying the historical eras or personages covered in it. I’d like to simply caution you to be aware, however, that because the martyred deaths of several figures, as well as the deaths of the Jews at Masada are covered, that you preview this before you show it to your younger children. It is tastefully handled, however; so the videos are, for the most part, appropriate for general audiences.
Jackson and I are happy to recommend Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls to you. We came away from the video understanding missing pieces of the history not only of the Bible but of the Christian church. It was a fantastic and fascinating presentation of the histories of the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and a taste of the Hebrew language. You’ll be very thankful for each one, when you finish watching! You may purchase Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls from New Liberty Videos for $19.95.