FIELD TRIP ALERT!!!! Just in case you haven't heard, the Dead Sea Scrolls are coming to San Diego this summer. I am almost jumping out of my skin with excitement.
Ancient texts go on display at the San Diego Museum of Natural History next month.
Ok, so who cares? Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls so important? They are basically the only known surviving Biblical documents written before AD 100. According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. At least one document has a carbon date range of 21 BC–61 AD.
The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the entire Old Testament, except the book of Esther. The reason this is significant is because prior to the DSS discovery, the most ancient Old Testament manuscripts we had dated back to almost the medieval period. That's several hundred years removed from their date of original writing. But the DSS proved that the Old Testament Christians and Jews read today is EXACTLY THE SAME as the one read in Jesus' day.
Going to see the DSS is a wonderful way to introduce discussions about the historical accuracy of the Bible in terms of its preservation. In an age of DaVinci Code conspiracy theories and LDS missionaries telling us that the Christian Bible is reliable only "insofar as it is correctly translated," it is critical for Christian children to understand WHY they can trust that the Bible not been corrupted over the centuries by the church.
What We've Learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls
I would highly encourage anyone living in the Southern CA area to consider making a journey to see the Dead Sea Scrolls this summer. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity (unless, of course, you plan to visit the Holy Land).