Friday, March 16, 2018

The DSS exhibition in Denver

OPENS TODAY: Dead Sea Scrolls on Purity, Morals on Display for First Time, in Denver. Vast Israeli antiquities exhibit showcasing Temples era and the start of the great religions visiting Denver Museum of Science and Nature for six months (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz). PaleoJudaica readers are familiar with this story, but today there is some news on which specific scrolls will be on display:
For the sake of their preservation, the first 10 scrolls displayed in Denver will return to Israel after three months and will be replaced by 10 other scrolls, the IAA explains.

Also among the Dead Sea Scrolls on exhibit in Denver in the two rounds are biblical, extra-biblical and sectarian scrolls found in Qumran.
These are the two scrolls that will go on public display for the first time ever:
Infectious impurity

The scroll on rules of ritual purity and impurity, called Tohorot (Purities) A, dates from the late 1st century B.C.E., says the IAA.

Only the ritually purified were allowed to handle sacred matters. Purification included immersion in the ritual bath (mikveh) and in some cases, even isolation, if the spiritual blemish was caused by illness.


Secret of existence
The other scroll going on display for the first time in Denver is called Musar Le'Mevin – to "he who understands" lectures on morality for learned disciples. It is also known as the Sapiental Work Scroll.

The messages are presented as information coming directly from God, conveyed through sages to their followers. It too dates to the late 1st century B.C.E. and is rather like an apocalyptic book of Proverbs.
Read the article for more details about both and about the exhibition in general.

According to the Jerusalem Post (Sarah Levi), the Tohorot scroll is in the first round of scrolls and Musar Le'Mevin is in the second.
The first round of display will feature scrolls that deal with ritual purity and impurity. The second round will feature part of the scroll called Musar lemevin, “Instructions to those who understand,” which contains apocalyptic prophecies.
Background on the Denver exhibition is here and links. And there's more on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Denver here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.