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Archaeology and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls Examined in B’nai Sholom Course

Are the Dead Sea Scrolls “the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century”? A course from B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will answer that question and more with an in-depth look at the Dead Sea Scrolls, their meaning and their impact.

“The Archaeology and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls” will be taught over eight Tuesday evenings beginning March 2, 7-8:30 p.m. via Zoom.

The ancient manuscripts have captured both the attention of scholars and the imagination of the public.  Some consider them to be the most important archaeological find of both the 20th and 21st centuries.  Translations of the texts that are included in the Scrolls continue to be published more than 60 years after their discovery in the remote caves of Qumran, and there is no end in sight to the nearly annual conferences to discuss them and the articles and books written to explain them.  After all, they represent the oldest biblical texts known to exist.

This eight-session course will address the discovery and publication of the Scrolls; the “Judaisms” or sects of the Second Temple Period; the founding and later development of the Qumran sect; the archaeology of the settlement at Qumran and nearby caves; the character of the Qumran community; women in the Dead Sea Scrolls; the theology and beliefs of the sect; and “messianism” in the Scrolls and its influence on Judaism and Christianity.

Steven Stark-Riemer, the course instructor,  has taught about the scientific study of the biblical world since 2007.  He studied anthropology at City College of New York, where he specialized in archaeology, and received his degree in 1972.  He obtained field work experience at the Tel Gezer excavations in Israel under the direction of William G. Dever, director of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School at the time.  Stark-Riemer continues to pursue his interest in the archaeology, history and religion of the ancient Near East.

“The Archaeology and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls” is open to the public.  Registration required.  Fee: $54 ($35 for B’nai Sholom members).  Zoom link will be emailed to all registrants.

For more information, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office: 518-482-5283 or

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