2000 years of history on display

2 02 2007

Over winter break, I got a chance to see the “Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls” exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.  This is a beautifully done exhibit about the discovery and preservation of the DSS, and quite a lot about the research being done with the scrolls. 

In addition to the exhibits about the science and history behinds the Qumran dig, there were several replica scrolls and 10 actual scroll fragments, including the 6th day of creation, and (by far the coolest) a nearly complete copy of Psalm 119 (the longest of the psalms).  Most of the scrolls were difficult to read, because of the low lighting and the fact that the writing was fairly faint, but the Psalm scroll was perfectly legible, and except for a few lines off the bottom of the scroll, was completely legible (even with my limited hebrew skills, I could sound out quite a lot of it, despite the 2000 year old writing.  That’s rather impressive when you think about how hard it is to read English that’s even a few hundred years old).  I probably spent 15 minutes standing in front of that one scroll. Could the person who wrote that scroll ever have imagined that more than two millenia later, and half way across the world, those words would still be read? What a wonderful chance that the scrolls would be so well preserved for so long.  All in all, an amazing experience.

Anyway, the exhibit is closed in Seattle, but it has been travelling throughout the US.  It will be in San Deigo next at the end of June, with 12 scrolls displayed for the first 3 months, and a different 12 for the second (I believe).  Tickets are expensive, but if the exhibit is anywhere near as good in SD as it was in Seattle, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone with an interest in the scrolls or in archeology.  Also, go earlier rather than later, since tickets will be much harder to get in a rush at the end of the exhibit than they will during the middle of the run.  (And no, I’m not being paid to say any of this, I think it’s a truly wonderful exhibit.) For more information about the exhibit click here.

Good Shabbos everyone!

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One response

6 02 2007
Yoel Ben-Avraham

Amazing. I was unaware of this exhibit. As a lark for the NaNoWriMo 2006 I wrote a book about “The Qumran Legacy”. Its currently in rewrite but I’ll post it at http://TheQumranLegacy.googlepages.com when it is readable.

I mention it as the protagonists work through endless exchanges struggling with many of the topics you write about – Jewish identity? Jewish observance etc.

Enjoying your blog!

(Avraham) Yoel Ben-Avraham
Shilo, Benyamin

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