2022 Fall Shapiro Lecture | “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish-Christian Dialogue”
11 Nov 2022

The Dead Sea Scrolls came to light in a very auspicious time for the development of Jewish Christian dialogue. The discovery of the scrolls initially set into motion a competition between Jewish and Christian scholars for ownership, publication and interpretation. While these issues were being hotly contested, the beginnings of Jewish Catholic and later Jewish Christian reconciliation were taking place in the aftermath of the Holocaust. To many, the scrolls strongly supported the growing consensus that early Christianity can only be understood within the Second Temple period Jewish context and that earliest Christianity was indeed a Jewish sect. While some scholars tended to exaggerate or even sensationalize connections between early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, an emerging consensus brought balance to the field and thus made it possible for Jewish and Christian scholars to work closely in finally publishing the entire corpus and in providing balanced interpretations. These new academic developments served as a strong encouragement and sometimes even as a basis for the ongoing progress of Jewish Christian dialogue.