Saturday, 20 September 2008



Dead Sea Scrolls to be showcased at ROM next year
Posted: September 18, 2008, 10:08 PM by Barry Hertz

By Natalie Alcoba, National Post

The biggest international exhibition yet of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be showcased at the Royal Ontario Museum next year.

Billed by some as Toronto’s largest ancient historical “blockbuster” since the Art Gallery of Ontario’s King Tut show in 1979, the scrolls are scheduled to be at the ROM next summer until December. Not every piece will be on display, but organizers say it will be the largest collection outside of Israel’s borders.

Similar, smaller exhibits in other cities have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers in the past — the ROM show is expected to be even more popular.

The scrolls were discovered in 11 caves along the shores of the Dead Sea starting in 1947 and consist of more than 900 manuscripts, largely fragmented, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. They date back to 250 BC.

“Most people would say they are the most important document having to do not just with Jewish history, but the origins of Christianity,” said Alex Gropper, director of the University of Toronto’s Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies. “They’ve revolutionized our knowledge of this important period.”

Mr. Gropper helped bring the exhibition to Toronto. He is on the board of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the custodian of the scrolls. Marilynne Freidman, a spokeswoman for the ROM, said the museum would be releasing details about the exhibit next week, at an official launch.



Anonymous said...

Controversy already surrounds this exhibit. See the following items:
(National Post article on topic)
(historian Norman Golb’s critique of San Diego exhibit catalogue)
(letter by Michael Hager, director of San Diego museum, attacking Golb)
(Golb’s response to Hager)
(article by Robert Dworkin on exhibit controversy)

It should be mentioned that the Jewish Museum in New York has now specifically acknowledged that there are “two basic theories” of scroll origins, thereby posing the question whether the curators at ROM will also admit as much, or whether they will allow their "guest curator" from San Diego to conceal the facts the way she has apparently done before. For additional links (now amounting to an entire press dossier) and commentary on this scandal, see

Howtindog said...

Yes I've long heard of Golb's activities in relation to those Scrolls exhibits. Well, it can't be helped that Golb's theory isn't popular among scholars, and is thus reflected in the exhibits.

I mean, are the museums obligated to make sure that Robert Eisenman's view or Barbara Thiering's view get a fair share of time as well? Their books were once upon a time best sellers too. Should they invite Jose O'Callahan to speak about his theory that New Testament manuscripts were found in Cave 7 as well?

Besides, in my judgment, the second most plausible theory in addition to the Essene hypothesis is Schiffman's Sadducee hypothesis, not Golb's Jerusalem library hypothesis.