The Shrine Of The Book In Jerusalem

by David Padfield

Shrine of the Book | Dead Sea Scrolls

The photograph above is of the central showcase inside the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Shrine of the Book houses the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, possibly the most important archaeological discovery ever made in Israel.

The first of the 2,000 year old scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a young Bedouin shepherd. From the eleven caves around the Qumran area scholars have recovered the manuscripts of almost 700 works, both Biblical and sectarian. Some of the works are complete scrolls, while others are only fragments containing a few sentences.

The texts of the books of the Hebrew Bible number more than 170, and each Biblical book (with the sole exception of the book of Esther) can be found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

From the outside the Shrine looks like the lid of a clay jar -- like the ones many of the scrolls were found in. The display case pictured above is in the form of an ancient scroll.

The most prized exhibits at the Shrine are the two oldest copies of the book of Isaiah in existence. These Isaiah scrolls are 1,000 years older than any other known Hebrew Biblical text -- they were written only six centuries after Isaiah first penned his marvelous words, as he looked forward to the Messiah!