Byline: Erin Stewart, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
An exhibit featuring replicas of the Dead Sea Scrolls has opened at the visitors center at the Mormon temple in Kensington.
The free exhibit, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts at Brigham Young University, chronicles the creation of the scrolls in the ancient city of Qumran on the northwestern rim of the Dead Sea, as well as their discovery by a Palestinian shepherd in 1947.
The exhibit also presents exact replicas of several of the more than 800 complete and fragmentary scrolls that have captured the attention of biblical scholars since their discovery. Among the displayed scrolls are "the Great Isaiah Scroll," which measures 241/2 feet in length, and like the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is written in Hebrew.
Other displays include "the Rule of the Congregation," a scroll describing the daily religious life of the people of Qumran. Also shown is a sword found with the manuscripts.
"The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown us that Judaism and Christianity and the Essenes are all religious movements derived from the Old Testament," said Noel Reynolds, director of the institute. "It gives us a richer background."
The original scrolls, now stored in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, are believed to have been written by the Essenes, one of the three main branches of Judaism at the time, between 250 B.C. and 70 A.D., he said. The intact scrolls and scroll fragments provide portions of all the books of the Old Testament, excluding the book of Esther. …