The chance discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Bedouin at Qumran in Israel in 1947 was of great religious and historical significance as they, and subsequent finds up to 1956, included the oldest known surviving copies of biblical and non-biblical documents. One of those found, the Isaiah Scroll, is 1,000 years older than any previously known copy of the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It is estimated that the documents were written between 150 BC and 70 AD. The period is significant, especially to Christians, given that it is widely accepted by most scholars that Jesus of Nazareth lived and died within that period. The scrolls are mostly in Hebrew and Aramaic, the latter the accepted language of Jesus.
Jack Scully’s book Eyewitness is a fictional account of the modern-day discovery at Qumran, of a two-thousand-year-old scroll which gives an eyewitnesses account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Against the background of the factual discovery, and significance, of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Scully’s tale is entirely believable. You don’t have to be religious or even spiritually inclined to enjoy this action-adventure novel. It tells the tale of an American archaeological team which is in the Qumran area searching for ancient treasures. Unlike earlier teams, they use computerised imaging equipment to assist with their search. They have reason to believe that many artifacts from Jerusalem’s Second Temple period were transferred to Qumran before the Romans destroyed the temple in 70AD.
This book could not be written without a considerable amount of research. Scully knows his stuff and not only in the biblical sense. He portrays the story and its characters in a manner which demonstrates something more than a keen interest in the extra-biblical history of the region, its people, language and culture.
The book appears to have been self-published and while it sits neatly into the difficult-to-put-down category, it would have benefited from a professional edit – there are a few too many ‘typos.’ Yet it is a brilliant effort, thought provoking, thrilling, surprising and just plain entertaining.
Author, “The Election”