Friday, March 16, 2007

The Dead Sea Scrolls in KC

My 3 older kids and I went on a field trip with the American Girls' group yesterday to see The Dead Sea Scrolls at Union Station. They are here for 3 months and there has been a lot of talk about the exhibit. The tickets normally are pretty expensive at $20 a person but we were able to get a major discount since we had a Children's group.

I have to say that I was extremely impressed. It was well done and my kids and I got a lot more out of it than I expected. They gave each person a small device that looked like a TV remote control. At each section they had numbers that you pressed into the audio device and you could listen to commentary about what you were looking at in the displays. They also had a kid version and an adult version for each one. So not only did it keep my kids occupied but I think they learned more as a result. It also enabled everyone to go at their own pace and learn as little or as much as they wanted about each display. It was also fascinating to be able to see some of the actual scrolls.

Here is some of what I learned:

About the only thing I remembered about them from Bible College is that they were older than any other Biblical text even though they were found later than any other and as a result they were considered to be more reliable. So the rest was all new to me or were things I hadn't remembered learning.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were originally discovered in a cave in 1947 by a Bedouin Shepherd at Qumran. The Discovery led to more from 1947-1956 where archaeologists and Bedouin Shepherds found 800+ scrolls in 11 different caves along the shore of the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is 1371 feet below sea level and the climate around it is very dry which is what enabled the scrolls to be preserved for such a long time. Once the scrolls were brought to a different climate they started to deteriorate and the archaeologists initially, unknowingly did some irreparable damage. Soon efforts were made to handle them much more carefully and to preserve them.

Many believe the scrolls to have been written by a sect known as the Essenes who lived at Qumran during the related time period.

If you live in the KC area or even a couple of hours away I would highly recommend the exhibit!!

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