Between 1947 and 1956, nearly 900 ancient Jewish manuscripts were found in remote caves near Khirbet Qumran on the edge of the Dead Sea. This authoritative and accessible book explains the nature and significance of these amazing manuscripts, and the dramatic impact they have had on our understanding of religion in ancient Palestine. Cutting through scholarly controversies and conspiracy theories, it demonstrates how the "Dead Sea Scrolls" have transformed our comprehension of the "Bible", Judaism in the time of Jesus, and the rise of Christianity. In the second edition the main text, footnotes and bibliographies have all been thoroughly updated, and a new chapter added that expands the material on the identity of the community behind the scrolls, and provides a helpful survey of the manuscripts. The book is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in either the Scrolls themselves, Jewish history and religion in the Second Temple period or the early Christian movement.