Dead Sea Scrolls on Exhibit at NYC's Discovery Times Square

Starting Friday, Discovery Times Square will host the world premier of the new exhibit, “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times.”

According to the press release, the new exhibition will feature the “largest and most comprehensive collection of Holy Land artifacts” and also the “largest collection of the 2000-year-old scrolls ever displayed in the United States.”

The exhibition will feature 20 scrolls, four of which will be making world debuts. The scrolls incorporated into the display will include the Biblical books of Genesis, Leviticus, as well as Exodus and Kings among several others.

The scrolls offer insight into customs and religion of ancient Israelis. The scrolls also offer insight into the birth of Christianity, and include the oldest record of the Old Testament ever found.

It appears that the scrolls were hidden from Roman armies in caves in the Judean desert on the shores of the Dead Sea around 68 BCE.

More than 15,000 Dead Sea Scrolls, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek between 150 BC and 70 AD were discovered in 11 caves in the 1940s and 1950s in the West Bank.

Originally in fragments, scholars were able to reconstruct the writings for viewing, producing 850 manuscripts. The scrolls were written on parchment and papyrus paper and are very sensitive to light and susceptible to deterioration.

The discovered scrolls are between 800 and 1000 years older than previously known manuscripts.

The scrolls have been on display in the Israel Museum since 1966 and were recently made digitally available via the Israel Museum website.

Adolfo Rotiman, the Lizbeth and George Krupp curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum has said of the scrolls, "The Dead Sea Scrolls give us new perspective about ancient life, society, and thought. They promote interfaith dialogue and an understanding between all human beings."

Tickets at the New York exhibit will go for $19.50 for children and $25 for adults. Senior citizens will receive a slight discount and will be charged $22.50.

The display will remain in New York until April 15, 2012 and following its duration at the Discovery Times Square, the exhibition will move to Philadelphia’s The Franklin Institute for several months.

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