Monday, October 26, 2009

A REVIEW of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum by Jennifer Merrick in the Buffalo News. Excerpt:
The collection gives you an excellent sense of what life was like at that time, setting the scene before you even catch sight of the scrolls. Videos provide background and introduce some of the mysteries surrounding the documents. One of the greatest riddles is how they ended up in the Qumran caves. In the presentation, three scholars convincingly present their theories as to why they were found in this location.

“The jury is still out,” Rahimi says when asked what his thoughts were on this debate. He says he would rather present the information and let people make their own conclusions.

There suspense builds while going through the exhibits. Anticipation heightens as you finally enter the dimly lighted room that contains the scrolls themselves. The majesty of the writings combined with the lighting and music create a somber and contemplative atmosphere that reflects the weight of these pages’ impact on history.

Each of the eight fragments has its own case with a translation and a commentary putting the material in context. Some are biblical, including texts from Genesis, Psalms and Daniel, while others are secular, like one on papyrus of a property deed. The signature can clearly be seen.

“It’s like having an autograph of people you know about historically,” says Rahimi.
Also, this paragraph, which comes a little earlier in the piece, is odd:
“One of the exhibit’s goals,” says Dan Rahimi, gallery developer and archaeologist, “is to give visitors the context; to show what was going on in 13th century B. C., a time of major, major change.”
I suspect that someone's notes got confused and that "13th" is a mistake for "the first to third."