Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary To Show 16 Manuscript Fragments; Several Have Never Been On Public Display
FORT WORTH, TEXAS—December 8, 2011— Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary today announced plans to open a new exhibition next summer: Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures. The exhibition of ancient texts will open on July 2, 2012, and be on view until January 11, 2013. Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible will demonstrate how the Dead Sea Scrolls revolutionized the study of Christianity and Judaism and will be meaningful to anyone with an interest in ancient history, archaeology, the Bible, and religion.
While portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls have previously been viewable at institutions in the United States and the world, Southwestern Seminary will exhibit seven fragments from its acquisitions, most of which have never been on public display. In fact, this collection will be the most comprehensive of its kind to be presented in Texas, offering visitors a personal, once-in-a-lifetime viewing of at least 16 scroll fragments. In addition to those owned by the seminary, the exhibition will include loaned fragments from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (two fragments will rotate in display) and others from private collections, including a magnificent piece that has never been on public display from the Kando family of Bethlehem.
Named for the location where the first scrolls were discovered in Israel in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls represent more than 1,400 original separate scrolls of biblical and non-biblical Jewish writings. The Dead Sea Scrolls date back at least 2,000 years, are considered by many scholars to be the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times, and are 1,000 years older than the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament known before their discovery. The aging process has affected the parchment on which the scrolls are written so that many are only fragments; however, the text is visible and illustrates faithful transmission of the Old Testament.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the oldest known biblical texts, which influence and provide guidance to millions of people today,” said Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Southwestern Seminary’s commitment to continuing research of biblical, linguistic, and historical studies is behind our decision to make the fragments available for public viewing. Because such an extensive collection of fragments has rarely been assembled before and several of the fragments have been seen only privately, the exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for visitors to find out more about the origins of the Bible and ancient cultures.”
Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible will be presented in a specially designed space within Southwestern Seminary’s new MacGorman Performing Arts Center & Chapel. This new building on the seminary’s campus will provide visitors with an exceptional venue for viewing rare Old Testament manuscripts, as well as New Testament manuscripts, extra-biblical texts, and other documents from second century B.C. until modern times.
Dr. Weston Fields, executive director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, will serve as guest curator of the exhibition alongside Southwestern Seminary’s team of Old Testament and Near East culture experts and professors. Heather Reichstadt, of Southwestern’s Charles D. Tandy Archaeology Museum, will serve as resident curator. Dr. Bruce McCoy has been appointed director of the exhibition.
When Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible opens in July, visitors can expect to see artifacts ranging from biblical and extra-biblical texts to modern day Bibles. Currently planned for display are:
- Dead Sea Scroll fragments from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Daniel, Ecclesiastes, and the Psalms
- An ancient stylus from Qumran
- Facsimiles illustrating the text of items found in Qumran, including the Isaiah scroll, the Habakkuk Commentary, and the Manual of Discipline
While additional objects are being finalized, confirmed artifacts also include:
- A rare medieval-era palimpsest bearing Hebrew and Coptic script
- Coins dating from the reign of Alexander the Great (fourth century B.C.) to the period of the Jewish revolt (first century B.C.), representing significant figures such as Pontius Pilate, Vespasian and Titus
- Glass vessels dating to early Roman periods
- Luxury vessels of alabaster, ceramic, and glass used for cosmetics and precious oils
- Household objects such a leather sandal, a wooden comb, kohl applicators made of copper and two alabaster palettes
Tickets will be on sale in January 2012 with adult admission starting at $25 and reduced costs for seniors, students, and children. All proceeds from the exhibition will fund archaeological research currently being conducted in the Middle East, and will support the biblical archaeology program at Southwestern Seminary. For additional information about Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible, including advance notice of ticket sales, visit SeeTheScrolls.com.
About Southwestern Seminary
A world-renowned institution dedicated to biblical and historical scholarship, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary exists to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian ministry. Since its founding, the seminary has trained and sent out more than 40,000 graduates to serve in local churches and mission fields around the world. In 1908, B.H. Carroll established the seminary on the campus of Baylor University. It was moved to its current location on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth in 1910 and was placed under the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925. Today, Southwestern Seminary is recognized as one of the largest seminaries in the world. For more information about the seminary, including its commitment to archaeological research and degree program offerings, visit swbts.edu.
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