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Lecture: Comparing the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition is now closed. A Dead Sea Scrolls FAQ is still available online.

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh is hosting an eight-part lecture series to complement "The Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibition, which is now in its final two months. Join University of Jerusalem Professor Emanuel Tov as he reviews the differences between the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls and the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible in "The Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls." This lecture, the seventh in the series, will be held Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. in the Museum's WRAL Digital Theater. [Tickets may be purchased online at naturalsciences.org -- the Museum strongly recommends purchasing tickets in advance.]

Among the more than 900 scrolls found at Qumran are at least 200 scrolls representing the books of the Hebrew Bible (known to Christians as the Old Testament). These scrolls have radically changed our understanding of the texts that were current in ancient Israel 2,000 years ago. This lecture describes the various types of scrolls and reviews the differences between the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls and the traditional Hebrew text, while focusing on their impact on biblical scholarship.

Tov is J.L. Magnes Professor of Bible at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Editor-in-Chief of the "Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project." This project put Tov in charge of a team of 60 scholars worldwide who were involved in the preparation for publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the "Discoveries in the Judaean Desert" series, published by Oxford University Press (2006). He has received several awards during his career, most recently the Emet Prize in Biblical Research was awarded to him by the Prime Minister of Israel in December 2004, and in 2006 he was appointed Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are widely acknowledged to be among the greatest archaeological treasures ever discovered. The Scrolls, discovered after 2,000 years hidden in caves of the Judean desert, are our bridge to a period that laid the foundation of western traditions, beliefs and practices throughout the past two millennia. Among the Scrolls are more than 200 biblical manuscripts that represent nearly every book in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) and that predate any previously known copies by more than 1,000 years. Currently on view is a fragment of Genesis that includes the story of creation. The Museum exhibition runs through December 28.

The Museum offers the Distinguished Lecture Series to expand on some of the cultural and scientific themes of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. The series includes local, national and international scholars speaking on topics ranging from the conservation of the scrolls to the roles women had at Qumran. Individual tickets for the lectures are $25 for the general public and $20 for Friends of the Museum; additional package discounts are available.

Last tickets to the exhibition are sold at 5 p.m. on lecture nights. Regular exhibition hours are noon to 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, including a full schedule for the lecture series, visit http://naturalsciences.org/scrolls.