Mobile, AL – THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO MAKE A PILGRIMAGE TO MOBILE TO VIEW THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS. TO MANY, THE ANCIENT SCROLLS SERVE AS A TESTAMENT TO THE PAST. THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS ARE THE OLDEST SURVIVING TEXTS OF THE HEBREW BIBLE, WHICH IS KNOWN TO CHRISTIANS AS THE OLD TESTAMENT. ALABAMA PUBLIC RADIO'S CHRIS NEWBOLD PREVIEWS THE EXHIBIT.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS FORM THE BASIS OF THE TRADITIONS AND VALUES THAT SHAPE OUR SOCIETY TODAY. CURATOR TAMAR RABBI-SALHOV SAYS THE RARE MANUSCRIPTS ARE POWERFUL AND MOVING.
-TAMAR "You can see the Hebrew script as we know it today, the Bible. People can really read them after two thousand years, and it is so fragmentary. It's fragments pieced together and it looks like a huge jig-saw puzzle pieced together. "
(bridge)THE SCROLLS ARE WRITTEN ON PARCHMENT. ALTHOUGH A FEW WERE DISCOVERED IN TACT, MOST SURVIVE AS FRAGMENTS. AND IT TOOK SCHOLARS YEARS TO RE-ASSEMBLE THE UNPRECEDENTED BIBLICAL LITERATURE. THE MOBILE DISPLAY IS UNIQUE BECAUSE IT FEATURES THE OLDEST KNOWN COPY OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
-TAMAR "Imagine the ten commandments and you will think it would be in the same column, right? But because it is
so small it started in the last sentence of the scroll and contains two and a half columns. And all the commandments are there. And I think people are really exciting of reading this scroll because most of the people know it. I think most people know this text and how important it is even to society today. To see them is something very special."
THE ANCIENT DOCUMENTS ARE FRAGILE AND ARE KEPT IN A CAREFULLY CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT. CURATOR RABBI-SALHOV SAYS THE ISREALI AGENCY THAT CONTROLS THE HISTORIC MANUSCRIPTS AGREES TO DISPLAY THEM OUT OF ISREAL SO PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD CAN HAVE ACCESS TO THE PRICELESS DOCUMENTS.
-TAMAR "The Israel Antiquities Authority wants the public to see the scrolls and we know most of the people can not come to Israel because it is far. This way people can see them because if they are locked in our storage room and stay there it is like they are still in the cave."
THE MOBILE EXHIBT ALSO FEATURES OTHER ARTIFIACTS THAT TELL THE STORY OF EVERDAY LIFE AND BELIEFS WITHIN THE ANCIENT JEWISH COMMUNITY. BEFORE COMING TO MOBILE, THE SCROLLS WERE ON DISPLAY IN HOUSTON. THE TEXAS EXHIBIT DREW AN AVERAGE OF 17-HUNDRED PEOPLE A DAY. OFFICIALS AT THE GULF COAST EXPLOREUM EXPECT 160-THOUSAND PEOPLE TO VIEW THE SCROLLS DURING ITS 95 DAY SHOWING.
FOR ALABAMA PUBLIC RADIO, I'M CHRIS NEWBOLD IN MOBILE.