Different Reading – Dead Sea Scrolls


Hebrew scrolls are not my normal reading material – I can’t read Hebrew, can’t read right to left, and the samples I saw today are only fragments. But what a wonderful few hours! The Dead Sea Scrolls are on display at the San Diego Natural History Museum until the end of December. My brother and I finally made it to this once-in-a-lifetime chance.

The exhibit is superb. Only 12 scrolls are on display, and then only small portions. But they are only a fraction of the whole exhibit. Fortunately, each display is blown up in a picture hanging above each case as well. A small portion of each scroll on display is translated.

Most of the ones I saw today are on parchment. One was a piece of papyrus (a legal document from early CE or AD, depending on how you mark time) and one was inscribed on copper (I forget the date of that one). There was a section that included the ten commandments and another section that included the Psalms.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a museum display like this. I am quite impressed by the audio guide also available. Each person was given a personal audio player. By pressing the correct matching numbers to a display and “play”, you then put the audio up to your ear to listen to the commentary. Everyone received one at no extra cost. Each person could then listen without disturbing everyone around them and could easily repeat a section. This kept the noise level down in the display rooms and yet everyone received the audio benefit as well as the visual benefit. I haven’t seen this system before. If it isn’t common yet, I hope it becomes so.