New Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Opens in Fort Worth, Texas

Bible and archaeology news

A new Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, titled “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible,” opened up this week at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. A press release from the exhibit’s website:

Southwestern Seminary Opens Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition

Twelve fragments of 21 on display have never been viewed publicly; includes objects on loan from all over the world

FORT WORTH, TEXAS—July 2, 2012 – Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures, an exhibition of rare Dead Sea Scroll fragments and other antiquities, opens today at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The exhibition is the most comprehensive of its kind to appear in Texas – and one of the largest ever presented in the United States.

Twelve of the fragments in the exhibition have been held in private collections until now and have never before been seen by the public, including a fragment of Genesis on loan from the Kando family of Bethlehem that is believed to be one of the largest fragments ever to go on display. Beginning today, visitors will be able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view 21 rare scroll fragments.

Named for the location where the first scrolls were discovered in Israel in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many scholars to be the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times; they are 1,000 years older than the oldest complete Hebrew Bible known before their discovery. The exhibition, which will be on display until January 13, 2013, demonstrates how the Dead Sea Scrolls revolutionized the study of Christianity and Judaism. Portions of the biblical passages that will be on display include verses from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1 Kings, Nehemiah, the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Amos, and Jonah.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls include the oldest biblical texts we know of – texts that still influence millions of people all over the world,” said Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “As part of Southwestern Seminary’s commitment to biblical, linguistic, and historical research, we are especially excited to show several of these fragments to the public for the first time. It is an incredible opportunity for visitors to learn about ancient history, archaeology and religion.”

Housed in the seminary’s MacGorman Performing Arts Center (4616 Stanley Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas, 76115), Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible follows the journey of Scripture from the time Jesus walked the earth to modern day. The exhibition includes Dead Sea Scroll fragments, the rare Jeselsohn Stone (a sandstone tablet), the St. John’s Bible, part of a Gutenberg Bible from 1455, and a King James Bible from 1611, among other artifacts. Ancient coins and household objects demonstrate daily life of the time, and an archaeologist’s tent gives visitors a peek at the original Qumran excavation.

A variety of interactive features also accompany the exhibition, including:

  • A high-tech Scriptorium where visitors can study infrared photography of the scrolls
  • A genuine Bedouin tent from Jordan
  • The Qumran Simulated Dig Site, where, under the guidance of the seminary’s Ph.D. archaeology students, visitors can learn how to excavate authentic 2,000-year-old potsherds provided by the Smithsonian Institute. Students are allowed to keep the sherds they find.

Tickets are on sale online, with adult admission starting at $25 and reduced costs for seniors, students and children. Exhibition hours are Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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