By Arlene Bridges, Juicy Ecumenism —-

Hitch your reading shovel to The Copper Scroll Project and dig into a story about the most renowned treasure hunt in history!  Remembering the excitement of childhood treasure hunts, I eagerly read Shelley Neese’s landmark book, The Copper Scroll Project. Her decade of research and first-hand experience details the most sought-after treasures in world history. The book offers up a resplendent adventure to match wide-ranging interests whether in archeology, Israel and the Middle East, secular or religious history, the Bible, theology, wordsmithing skills, or a captivating mystery.

The Copper Scroll Project is not fiction. The copper scroll itself is an authentic cousin to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Placed on a cave shelf by ancient hands 2400 years ago, the copper scroll was discovered in 1952 in Qumran, Israel by a French archeologist. The copper artifact is the only one of its kind- not written on leather or papyrus-and not a book or segment of the bible.  Engraved in an early form of Hebrew, the fragile copper scroll is singular in its existence. It’s the most astounding list ever written; a list of tabernacle and Temple artifacts, coins, silver, jewels, and clothing; full of shrouded clues as to their location. And still yet to be discovered.

Since the copper scroll’s discovery in 1952, it has generated countless avenues of scholarly discussion, disagreements, archeological, and financial challenges.  As well, Bible-believing Christians worldwide remain curious and fascinated by the whereabouts of these treasures. Questions abound: Are the treasures scattered or buried across deserts from Israel to Iraq? Did Roman soldiers steal and sell Second Temple artifacts? Are they located in Qumran? Who engraved the copper scrolls? The Copper Scroll Project will answer many of your questions.

Make no mistake though. While Shelley’s research took her to Qumran in the Israeli Judean desert, her book is not a dry, dull archeological treatise.  Shelly’s writing itself is a feast of fresh, descriptive story-telling creating what every reader wants…the kind of book that opens doors to savor each word while holding back the desire to rush excitedly to the next intriguing chapter.

The main character, among others significant to the story, is Jim Barfield, a devoted Christian from Arkansas. He’s a retired fire chief and specializes in forensic investigative work.  Jim’s skills may seem unusual for an archeological pursuit, but reading Shelley’s account of Jim’s undertaking, it makes sense. Jim’s passionate devotion to Israel, professional background, and attention to every miniscule detail has advanced the search for the elusive, profound objects on the copper list.  His quest for the copper scroll is reminiscent of God’s habit of tapping an ordinary Christian on the shoulder giving directions to pursue an extraordinary task.

Some of the additional characters represent another kind of list: top experts in their fields including Henry Wright Baker-Engineering professor at Manchester College, Yaakov Dahan- Director of Qumran, Shuka Dorfman- Head of Israeli Antiquities Authority, and Gabriel Barkay- Israeli Archaeologist in charge of Temple Mount Sifting Project.  Shelley vividly and masterfully writes about each character’s part in Jim’s eight-year journey; an exercise in faith, persistence, sincerity, and obedience to the role God delegated to him.  His journey in life is sure to inspire yours while reading about the lead-up in this book to the greatest discovery yet to be made; holy artifacts that could span history from the Exodus to Babylonian captivity.