Biblical Archaeology Review 44:4, July/August 2018

Strata: Exhibit Watch: Dead Sea Scrolls in Denver

If you have ever wanted to see the Dead Sea Scrolls but have not been able to travel to the Middle East, this may be your chance. Select Dead Sea Scrolls are on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Perhaps the most significant archaeological discovery of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls represent the earliest extant copies of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). In addition to Biblical texts, the scrolls contain numerous texts, such as the War Scroll, penned by a sectarian community. Many scholars attribute the scrolls—written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—to the Essenes, a branch of Jews who adhered to an ascetic lifestyle.

Bedouin first came across the scrolls in caves near the site of Qumran, less than a mile west of the Dead Sea, in 1947 (or a little earlier). An archaeological excavation of the caves followed two years later—with several expeditions between 1949 and 1956. In all, fragments of 972 separate scrolls were uncovered.

At the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, full English translations accompany the scrolls. Additionally, a variety of artifacts from the ancient Near East—spanning more than a millennium (c. 1200 B.C.E.–70 C.E.)—are on display. These include inscriptions, seals, weapons, terracotta figurines, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics, and jewelry, as well as a 3-ton stone that was once part of the Temple Mount’s platform built by King Herod the Great.

Through September 3, 2018
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Denver, Colorado
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