Witness the oldest, best-preserved parchment scroll of The Ten Commandments.
Due to its fragility this is a one time opportunity to view this precious scroll on public display.
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Due to the popularity of the exhibition you may experience long lines
Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition continues through April 15th.
Discovered in1952 in Cave 4 near Khirbet, Qumran. The Ten Commandments Scroll is part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in a series of caves – found initially by a Bedouin shepherd – that are near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. They are believed to date from around 250 BC to 68 AD. When the scrolls were discovered, the area was part of the British Mandate for Palestine. It is now part of Israel.
The condition of this scroll is exceptional. The scroll is the most complete and best preserved ancient example of the Ten Commandments in the world. Ancient parchment, which is made from animal skin, is very fragile. In addition to destruction caused in fires, floods, or battles, parchment can be damaged by humidity, light, and variations in temperature. It is remarkable that the Ten Commandments Scroll has survived until today.
WHO WROTE THIS SCROLL?
The identity of the scribe who wrote the Ten Commandment Scroll is not known. Many scholars believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the Ten Commandments Scroll, were written by members of a sect who broke away from mainstream Judaism and lived in the desert from the 3rd century BCE until 68 CE, when their community was destroyed by the Romans. Other scholars believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls also include writings from other areas including Jerusalem.
WHEN WAS THIS SCROLL WRITTEN?
Between 50 BCE and 1 BCE (Before the Common Era)
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS SCROLL
This Ten Commandments Scroll is the oldest known text of the Ten Commandments on parchment, as well as the most complete and the best preserved. The Nash Papyrus, which is in the Cambridge University Library, is less complete, is in fragments, and dates to 150–100 BCE. They are the only surviving texts of the Ten Commandments dating from before Christ. The next earliest manuscript of the Commandments dates to around 1000 AD, a 1,000-year gap that highlights how fragile and perishable texts on parchment or papyrus were.
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