On June 29, 2007, the San Diego Natural History Museum will open the largest, most comprehensive exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls ever presented to the public. The exhibition—created and assembled by the Museum—includes authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient illuminated manuscripts, artifacts, landscape and aerial photography, and interactive displays about science, discovery, and exploration. Because of the generosity of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, 27 Dead Sea Scrolls will be on display over the course of the exhibition.
The unprecedented six-month exhibition displays materials never before exhibited together: Dead Sea Scrolls from Israel and Jordan reunited for the first time in sixty years, rarely seen ancient Hebrew codices from the National Library of Russia, medieval manuscripts from the British National Library, and stunning modern interpretations of the texts. Tracing the scrolls and their meaning through time, the exhibition connects the ancient world to the modern. The exhibition will span two floors and over 12,000 square feet.
According to Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, curator of the exhibition and director of San Diego State University’s Judaic Studies Program, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to encounter some of the world’s most significant documents and artifacts, all in the same space. The scrolls are the oldest discovered copies of the books of the Hebrew Bible, and the ideas in them have shaped our world. They shed light on life, faith and culture in ancient Israel, which influenced Judaism and Christianity.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating from 250 BCE–68 CE, are indisputably one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Discovered beginning in 1947 in eleven caves along the shores of the Dead Sea in Israel, the scrolls are a bridge to the period when the foundations of western civilization were being laid.
These ancient manuscripts embody universal values and bring to life a vanished world. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors will be surrounded by landscapes from top Israeli photographers Neil Folberg, Duby Tal, and Yossi Eshbol that explore Israel’s unique beauty and varied climate. The photographs will also show the similarities in San Diego’s and Israel’s climate—two of the five Mediterranean climate regions on Earth.
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