8 Interesting Facts About the Dead Sea Scrolls

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by: Katherine Neer
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The Ten Commandments Scroll will be on display December 16 through January 2, 2012 at Discovery Times Square on West 44th Street.
Israel Antiquities Authority
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As part of a fascinating exhibit, Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times, the Ten Commandments Scroll will be on display December 16 through January 2, 2012, at Discovery Times Square on West 44th Street. This is especially exciting for curious minds because the scroll is the most complete and best preserved ancient example of the Ten Commandments in the world.

Measuring approximately 18 by 3 inches (46.5 x 7.7 cm), this sacred document was discovered in 1952 in a cave near Khirbet, Qumran, and is one of hundreds of texts that were found hidden within 11 caves in that area along the Dead Sea. The texts are comprised of a variety of religious documents written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew and date from 250 BCE to 68 AD.

The significance of finding and preserving the Ten Commandments Scroll -- and similar texts -- is multifaceted. Obviously, it has incredible religious and spiritual significance among many people around the globe. But it also has historical importance from a preservation standpoint and is part of a larger concern regarding how we care for and treat ancient texts and the written word. And finally, a discussion of this ancient document would not be complete without considering its relevance to modern society in general. The Ten Commandments are perhaps the oldest "laws" of the land, providing a broad-reaching moral compass regardless of religious ties or affiliations.

Read on to learn some interesting facts about the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, the scrolls themselves, their importance in today's world, and what some of today's greatest thinkers have to say about it all.

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