Thursday, January 4, 2007

Unearthed Treasures

I'm in Seattle visiting friends and yesterday took in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. These scrolls, stored in ceramic jars in the caves of Qumran, are precious copies of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Essene sect practiced an austere Jewish faith and devoted themselves to copying their sacred texts. Some manuscripts, such as of Isaiah and the Psalms, include over twenty copies.

Ten fragments of actual manuscripts are on display at the Pacific Science Museum in Seattle for only a few more days. Some 200,000 people have already passed through viewing evidence of the startling words gathered and treasured for millennia which come down to us today. Some of the fragments chosen for the exhibit were scripts of the most important moments of the Bible. I was particularly moved to see the words relating the creation of man from Genesis and the prophecy of the Suffering Servant from Isaiah. The fragment of Psalm 119 is one of the larger intact pieces found, a beautiful remnant with its bold characters.

These fragments document an historical link to the stunning intervention by God in the human timeline through the covenant with the people of Israel. Here we viewed the texts preserved by this devout community who passed on the deposit of revelation they had received from centuries earlier.

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