National Geographic to 'Decode' Dead Sea Scrolls, Cain and Abel

The National Geographic Channel will be airing two television programs dealing with ancient writings that both relate to today's era.

Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls and Cain and Abel will broadcast back to back on Sunday starting at 9 p.m. EDT. The first explores one of the major archaeological finds in history while the other looks at the biblical story of the first murder and first death of man.

"Both programs give us insight into the world as it was during a pivotal time in history," explains National Geographic in a statement, "when two religions parted ways and changed the course of time forever."

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the most ancient biblical texts that have ever been found. In addition to Christian and Jewish writings, they also contain unknown psalms, random apocalyptic musings and even a treasure map that has been a hot topic among scholars.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls are part of the greatest treasures, not only of the Jewish nation, but actually of mankind," commented Adolpho Roitman, curator of the Shrine of the Book, in a statement.

Comprising of more than 900 manuscripts and tens of thousands of brittle fragments, these scrolls will be examined with its impact towards the modern-day era in the upcoming special. In addition, they will discuss its relevance to understanding the life of Jesus Christ.

The one-hour special will include a large variety of renowned scientists and conservators from around the world and will also document the ongoing effort to preserve these decaying texts.

Following Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls, theologians and scholars will take an in-depth look at the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

This mysterious story about two brothers - one a farmer and the other a herder - details the first biblical account of murder and jealousy. The tale, which is only 16 lines long, delves deep into the emotions of man as well as the decisions of God.

"This story is highly relevant today," explained Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic scholar. "It lays down the principles of war and peace, of really two different ways of approaching the world."

The production will bring up highly debated questions such as:
• Why would God prefer one brother over another?
• Why is Cain's life spared after he committed such a sin?
• What is the "mark of Cain" that God uses to protect him?
• What would Cain need protection from?

Among the speakers will be experts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, who all are affected by this early scripture.

Cain and Abel will also have a run time of one hour.

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