Sunday, October 17, 2010

Words that Changed the World

We were given the opportunity by generous friends to go to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit along with the Omnimax show of Arabia last Saturday. A long but interesting day as we drove to the Cities, saw the exhibit and drove back.

 The "Arabia" movie was very pro-Middle East, showcasing the rich and diverse history of the Persian Empire, the golden ages of the area, including the Nabatean Empire and the Frankincense trade (which was basically tanked by the Christianizing of the area as wide spread poly theism waned), a cursory look at Islam and the importance of Mecca, and finally a glowing review of the strides toward cutting edge education and modernization that is taking place within Saudi Arabia. Thought provoking on many levels. We did a cursory study of world religions a couple of years ago which included National Geographic's "Inside Mecca" film. Good contrast.

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was very well done. Each attendee was given a hand-held speaker to guide them through the exhibit. The exhibit covered a vast amount of information, including Jewish life and customs, the languages of the times, the Essenes and their compound, and finally the Scrolls. There were only 5 fragments on display; Leviticus, Genesis, a fragment from the Common Law, Psalms and Enoch. The scroll room especially, was heavily guarded, dark and  surprisingly crowded.
While the exhibit was extensive and included tons of information I was surprised at how little new info we learned. I felt, in many ways, that it was just a hands on exhibit of Gus Jenninga's "Intro to Biblical History" I took back in 83'. Maybe, too, because we've been reading "Biblical Archeology Today" for several years, but both Viking Man and I were hoping that there would be something new and revelatory and were slightly disappointed.
The speaker guide basically gave the same information as the writing on the exhibits. Reading and listening was overload for me and I ditched the auditory guide and read my way through. Despite the museums efforts to control the crowds the number of people were distracting. People were so focused on listening that it was impossible at times to move past a display and the lack of awareness by others as far as personal space and manners got old. The fragments were tiny, the room dim and the writing so very small. I was shocked at how small the writing was. Amazing that something so old and almost decrepit can change the way the world thinks and demand that realities denied be considered truth.

Very much worth going to.

2 comments:

Deanna said...

I am glad you got to see the exhibit. We missed it when it was near us. It sounds wonderful.

LaughingLioness said...

We were able to go because friends of ours treated us for thier birthday!! How cool is that = )? It was great to see it, even though we had to pry our 10 yo away from a birthday sleepover with friends. Poor guy!