The Dead Sea Scrolls: Words that Changed the World

The Dead Sea Scrolls—objects of great mystery, intrigue, and cultural and spiritual significance—are widely acknowledged to be among the greatest archaeological treasures ever discovered. Working in close collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Science Museum of Minnesota produced an original 15,000-square-foot exhibit of these priceless artifacts. The show not only gave visitors a glimpse into life in Israel during the Second Temple Period, but also presented the most recent scientific interpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls from scholars around the world. Visitors were encouraged to draw their own conclusions about who authored the Scrolls and how these writings influenced the foundation of Western thought and tradition.

At the end of The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, visitors had the opportunity to see The Saint John’s Bible, a presentation of a modern project that uses ancient scribal techniques to relate themes and images from Scripture to the 21st century. The combined exhibits created an experience with monumental artistic and spiritual significance for our time.

This project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

BACK TO PROJECT HISTORY

scrolls-gallery-6.jpg

Setting the Stage
Setting the Stage
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a source of mystery, speculations, and understanding. This area describes the various contexts in which the exhibit presents the scrolls, an experience that interweaves people, places, story, and science.

scrolls-gallery-5.jpg

Saint John's Bible
Saint John's Bible
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit showcased the oldest-known hand-scribed record of the Hebrew Bible. At its conclusion, visitors experienced The Saint John's Bible, the first complete, handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned in 500 years.

scrolls-gallery-4.jpg

Ink Recipe
Ink Recipe
At this case, visitors learn that the common ingredient in black ink was everyday soot, or lamp black. Scientists used non-destructive X-ray analysis to determine that every Dead Sea Scroll uses soot-based black ink.

scrolls-gallery-3.jpg

Second Temple Period
Second Temple Period
These artifacts date from the Second Temple Period (516 BCE - 70 CE), during which time modern Jewish cultural identity took shape. At the same time, a diversity of Judaic beliefs and practices flourished.

scrolls-gallery-2.jpg

At the Center
At the Center
This section of the exhibit area introduces the Dead Sea region as a physical and cultural crossroads. Understanding that this was, and continues to be, a "central place," is key to understanding religious and political movements then and now.
jQuery(document).ready(function () {if(getCookie('currentSessionKey') != '') { setCookie('currentSessionKey', '', 0, 0, 3); setCookie('promptCounter', '0', 0, 0, 3);} var loginForm = document.getElementById('smm-tessitura-constituents-login'); var url = '/includes/cgaddon/cgui.php'; url += '?sessionid='; url += '&show=dialog'; if(loginForm && (loginForm.length) && (getCookie('promptCounter') == 0)) {document.getElementById('membershipModalOverlay').style.display = "block"; jQuery('#membershipModalBody').load(url);} else {document.getElementById('membershipModalOverlay').style.display = "none";}});