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.