The Bible Comes Alive: The California Science Center Hosts Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit
The largest exhibit of its kind outside of Israel has come to Los Angeles. The California Science Center, in partnership with The Israel Antiquities Authority, presents “The Dead Sea Scrolls”. Hundreds of items from the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery, half of which have never been seen in the United States, including some pieces making a world debut, are displayed for all audiences to enjoy. Also included is a 3-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall, ossuaries from the Roman Period, a signature over millennia old in the Archer Seal, and more than 600 artifacts dating from the Bronze Era to the Byzantine Period in Israel.
In 1946, two shepherds came across a number of scrolls in a cave in Qumran, located in the West Bank. After multiple excavations through 11 caves, 972 manuscripts of both biblical text and never-before-seen religious writings dating back to 250 BCE were collected. These texts have roots in Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Christianity, and Catholicism.
As people of multiple faith traditions come to explore the life of the biblical texts, they will learn more about their faith. Curators created more than just an exhibit about these scrolls; they opened up the world of the Old Testament to visitors. More than 600 pottery pieces and other excavated materials from as far back as the time of King David, offer context for the biblical narrative. Among the tens of thousands to step into that world were more than 30 APU faculty and students.
On March 21, the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies provided discounted tickets and transportation to the exhibit. “It was important that APU students come to the exhibit. Every book of the Old Testament except Esther, were found in these caves. That discovery really gives confidence to the antiquity of evidence with the Old Testament, as well as allows students to learn about the history of the canon,” said Robert Duke, Ph. D., chair and professor of the Department of Biblical Studies.
“That discovery really gives confidence to the antiquity of evidence with the Old Testament, as well as allows students to learn about the history of the canon.” -Robert Duke
“Seeing scrolls and fragments that are more than 2,000 years old was amazing,” said senior theology major Alex Evangelista ’15. “They influenced the academic world and continue to offer insight about a faith community that lived so many years ago. Attending the exhibit showed me that God has worked in the past just as God is working now.”
Although this set of scrolls is new to the APU community, Azusa Pacific University is one of three higher education facilities in the nation to own fragments from the caves of Qumran. APU houses five fragment texts from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Daniel, as well as one yet to be identified. In May 2010, APU also hosted an exhibit with these scrolls called, “Treasures of the Bible: Dead Sea Scrolls and Beyond.”
Seeing scrolls and fragments that are more than 2,000 years old was amazing. Attending the exhibit showed me that God has worked in the past just as God is working now.” -Alex Evangelista
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the California Science Center is not just for students or even Christians. “The material displayed connects to many faith traditions and reminds us of what we have in common, instead of what drives us apart,” said Duke. “It is a good reminder that all faiths have a place at the table.” The exhibit runs through September 7, and tickets can be bought online or in person. The Department of Biblical Studies has secured discounted tickets. Those interested should call (626) 387-5799 or email [email protected].
Posted: April 6, 2015