Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in New York, Philadelphia Showcases 500 Priceless Artifacts


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"Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times," a new exhibition featuring the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized,  can be viewed in premiere at Discovery Times Square (226 West 44th Street) in New York City through April 15.

The exhibition will travel to Philadelphia’s The Franklin Institute for a 5-month run beginning in May 2012.

There has been some controversy regarding the exhibition. You can review those comments here:

Visitors can view many newly discovered objects from the Holy Land alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls – among them, the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible – and considered among the world’s greatest archeological discoveries. The exhibition displays hundreds of biblical era artifacts, exploring life in ancient Israel at the time the Bible was composed through the period when the Dead Sea Scrolls were authored and eventually hidden. The exhibition offers a unique window into the period when the traditions we know as Judaism and Christianity emerged from ancient Israel.

Tile floor - archaelogical artifact form Jerusalem“The exhibition brings to life a fascinating period in history and vividly highlights how archaeologists and researchers piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life and ancient written documents. Israel’s archaeological sites and the artifacts they have yielded provide a record of extraordinary human achievement. The pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and of course, the scrolls on display in this exhibition constitute a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy. They teach us about the past and also about ourselves," said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, exhibition curator.

James Sanna, CEO of Discovery Times Square, added: “This unique new exhibit embodies the best that Discovery Times Square has to offer – quality, historical stories that are brought to life right in front of visitors’ eyes. We are proud and excited to bring this exhibit to New York City as the world premiere.”

“The collection on display highlights the Israel Antiquities Authority's Department of National Treasures,” said Debora Ben Ami, Curator of the Iron Age collection at the IAA. “Israel is a country where history is considered a treasure and our most important national asset.”

Exhibition highlights include more than 500 artifacts from the Biblical to Byzantine Period in Israel including many objects from recent archaeological excavations in Jerusalem that have never been publicly exhibited. The artifacts and Scrolls combine to provide a captivating and intriguing look at one of the most influential periods in history including the emergence of ancient Israel and the births of Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land. Objects on display will include remains of religious articles, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics.

In addition, the exhibition features a scale recreation of a section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall – complete with an authentic three-ton stone from the Wall in Israel. It is believed that this stone fell from the southwest corner of the Second Temple’s outer wall during the Roman invasion in 70 CE.

The 20-scroll exhibit (10 scrolls displayed at a time, with 4 scrolls making their world debut) will include pieces from the biblical books of Psalms, Isaiah, Deuteronomy and others.

This exhibition is created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from the collections of the Israel National Treasures and produced by Discovery Times Square and The Franklin Institute. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn (Professor at San Diego State University) and Debora Ben Ami (Iron Age collection curator at the IAA). Planning and design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, New York, NY and consultation by noted Dead Sea Scrolls expert, Dr. Lawrence Schiffman (Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Education, Yeshiva University).

The Franklin Institute

Discovery Times Square


Visit your local library to find these resources:

The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Jodi Magness, (2002).

Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: their True Meaning for Judaism and Christianity
, Anchor Bible Reference Library
Lawrence H. Schiffman, (1995).
(Schiffman has suggested two plausible theories of origin and identity - a Sadducean splinter group, or perhaps an Essene group with Sadducean roots.) Excerpts of this book can be read at COJS: Dead Sea Scrolls.

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam, editors. (1999), 2 vols.

The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Hershel Shanks, (1999).
(recommended introduction to their discovery and history of their scholarship)

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity

Carsten Peter Thiede, (2000).

Jesus the Man

Barbara Thiering, (2006).

Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls
by Barbara Thiering, (ISBN 0-06-067782-1), New York: Harper Collins, 1992

The Dead Sea Scrolls Today
James C. VanderKam, , Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation
Wise, Michael O. Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, (1996).
(contains the non-biblical portion of the scrolls, including fragments)


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