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Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit coming to Cincinnati Museum Center

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October 5, 2012

Beginning Nov. 16, the general public can witness “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times at Cincinnati Museum Center.” This new blockbuster exhibition features the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized, including one of the largest collections of the priceless 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls displayed in North America. This exhibition is created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from the collections of the Israel National Treasures and produced by Discovery Times Square and The Franklin Institute.


The Book of War details an apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil. Angels, good and bad, join the fight. After 40 years and seven battles, God tips the balance toward good, initiating a new world order. According to the text, the blessing on this fragment is to be recited to the surviving community after the final battle, at the end of time. God will increase fertility and will prevent disease and destruction by plagues and wild animals. It weaves in familiar quotations from the Bible, including a paraphrase of Numbers 6:24-25, "May the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face to shine upon you." (Courtesy Photo)

“I am excited that these 2,000-year-old biblical manuscripts from the Judean Desert caves will be in Cincinnati. These are some of the most important ancient manuscripts in the world and, with the support of several renowned community partners, they will be exhibited at Cincinnati Museum Center,” said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “As a young seminarian, I studied these early Jewish and pre-Christian texts of the Old Testament. I never expected to personally see these ancient handwritten texts about the ancient Western Civilization. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in our community and another example of partners coming together doing remarkable things which make our city great.”


The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and unearthed in caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea from 1947-1956. Considered among the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries, the Scrolls contain the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible. Of the more than 600 objects from the Biblical to Byzantine Period in Israel, many objects are from recent archaeological excavations in Jerusalem and have never been publicly exhibited. Objects include remains of religious articles, fragments of the Scrolls, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics. In addition, the exhibition features a compelling scale recreation of a section of Jerusalem’s Western (or Wailing) Wall  — complete with an authentic three-ton stone from the Wall in Israel.


These ossuaries, found in a tomb in Jerusalem, have inscriptions that included the names "Jesus," "Mary" and "Joseph." While it might be tempting to claim that this tomb belonged to Jesus and his family, these names are in fact extremely common in the Second temple period. The New Testament reports that Jesus's body was placed in the tomb of a prominent follower named Joseph of Arimathea. Since the early fourth century, Christians have venerated the site of Jesus's burial at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City. (Courtesy Photo)

The Cincinnati community has already embraced the exhibition. Local community partners include the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Dioceses of Southern Ohio, SC Ministry Foundation, Office of the Provost, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University, among others.


“The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati is delighted to be the presenting sponsor of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. This is an excellent opportunity for our community to experience something thoroughly unique,” said Michael R. Oestreicher, president of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. “We believe that this exhibit will enrich our community as it showcases these precious artifacts so full of significance in Judeo-Christian tradition. Dead Sea Scrolls will engage people from many different backgrounds, faiths and cultures.”


Cincinnati has a very special and unique part in the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls which will be highlighted in the exhibition. Hebrew Union College and former president (1947-1971), Nelson Glueck, played an important role in the events surrounding the scrolls from the time they were discovered. This included efforts to recover some of the scrolls from antiquities dealers, authenticating the scrolls, early academic debate about the significance and dating of the scrolls and participating in the scholarly efforts surrounding the scrolls.
Further enhancing the Dead Sea Scrolls experience will be a series of programs leading up to and throughout the run of the exhibition showcasing the science of archaeology and real objects from biblical times.


For more information or to purchase tickets, call 513-287-7001, or visit http://www.cincymuseum.org/dead-sea-scrolls.

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