The Dead Sea Scrolls: An exhibit of Biblical proportions

Published 2:01 am Monday, January 3, 2005

By Staff
Michele Gerlach
It is being billed as an exhibit of biblical proportions, and in a state that's spent much of the past couple of years dealing with the issues surrounding the display of the Ten Command-ments in government buildings, it should be.
The Dead Sea scrolls are coming to Alabama this month, and for the first time ever, the traveling exhibit will include the scroll featuring the laws of God as revealed to Moses.
The display will open at The Exploreum in Mobile on Jan. 20, where it will remain until April 24.
Discovered in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, the scrolls are considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.
In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd boy was tending his flock near the Dead Sea, in what is now Israel. He tried to startle a stray goat off a cliff ledge by throwing a stone. The stone fell through a hole in the cliff face, and the shepherd heard the distinctive sound of shattering pottery. The boy returned with his cousins and discovered the entrance to a hidden cave. Inside, they found pottery jars. Some were empty; one held only dirt; and the remaining jars held scrolls.
The scrolls include the earliest surviving texts of the books of the Hebrew Bible, known to us as the Old Testament.
Four of the seven scrolls were originally purchased for about $100. They sold for $250,000 just seven years later in 1954. They are now priceless!
One of the things interesting things about the scrolls is that more damage was done to the scrolls by those who removed and sought to preserve them than had been done in the 2,000 years of their existence
The Exploreum's exhibit also includes more than 80 archaelogical artifacts, such as coins and pottery and an orientation film produced by the Israel Antiquities Authority, as well as a virtual tour of Temple Mount and Jerusalem 2000 years ago. There also are exhibits and demonstrations on the science of manuscript conservation and a children's Dead Sea Scroll discovery area.
The Exploreum's IMAX theatre will feature related films, "Mysteries of Egypt" and "Mystery of the Maya."
The exhibit is made possible by the generous loan of artifacts by the Israel Antiquities Authority and with the cooperation of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.
The exhibit is sure to be a popular one for Alabamians. Timed tickets are already on sale and advance ticket purchases are recommended. There will be limited entry into the exhibit every 15 minutes. Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for youth/seniors and $12 for children.
Additional information and teaching aids are available on the web at

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