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The Dead Sea Scrolls

This Thursday I will have the honor to be in the presence of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Science Museum of Minnesota has been offering the exhibit since April and I will finally get to feast my eyes on these tasty pieces of history. As these scrolls rarely leave Israel, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. For those who don’t know, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered to be among the most important archeological finds of the 20th century. Prior to their discovery, historians interested in Second Temple Judaism (the period just prior to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and ending with the destruction of The Second Temple in 70 C.E.) were primarily dependent upon a few Jewish and Roman sources. With the finding of the scrolls in the 1940’s and 1950’s in a series of caves in Qumran, Israel (a small region just East of Jerusalem along The Dead Sea), scholars were given access to a plethora of pasty, worn, crumbled documents that have since significantly increased our knowledge about the Hebrew Bible and about the vast diversity that existed at the time between the various Jewish sects. And while they give us little to no specific insight into the life of Jesus or the beginnings of Christianity, they do paint a vivid picture of the world that gave birth to that revolution, and as such, allows us to better place it in its wider context.

  1. lenarivers
    10/18/2010 at 6:46 am

    sooo….?? was it everything you ever dreamed it would be? how was it?

    • 10/18/2010 at 11:17 pm

      Twas good. The scrolls themselves were not that visually impressive as they were only fragments, but I can still lay claim to having seen them. Most of the exhibit was information, illustrations, and artifacts (ancient jars, etc) relating to the scrolls. The exhibit ended with a room showing off The St. John’s Bible, a newly handwritten and illuminated Bible produced by a Minnesota Abbey. Now that was visually impressive.

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