The show includes replicas of scrolls that were found in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea, which lies between Israel and Jordan. The actual parchment and papyrus manuscripts are in museums in the Middle East. Scholars do not agree on the origin of the scrolls, which contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text similar to Old Testament writings, according to an announcement about the exhibit.
The actual scrolls are rarely allowed to travel in exhibits out of their native Israel. However, scholars from the church's Brigham Young University are among researchers working to catalog and decipher the scrolls. About 10 years ago, these scholars turned their work into a small, traveling exhibit to help make real to people the marvel of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The exhibit includes life-sized facsimiles of some of the most famous scrolls, including the famed Isaiah Scroll, the ancient scriptural commentary, the Habakkuk Pesher, and the Manual of Discipline of the Qumran community, among others. The display also includes artifacts such as inkwells and coins found in the Qumran area, home to the scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Visitors will learn about the Sons of Light, the mysterious Jewish community who created and then buried the scrolls sometime around Jewish revolt of 70 A.D.
The tour includes a brief video introduction and a personal, cassette recording of the four-part tour. The recordings are available in a variety of languages including Spanish, German and French.
Elder Glenn Potter, Director of the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, said he hopes visitors will be drawn by the consistent interest in these ancient scriptures.
"These are the earliest scriptures known," he said. "These are significant to everyone."
The exhibit is open Jan. 2 to March 31, 2008. The Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, 603 State Route 21, is open Mon.-Sat. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information, call 315-597-5851.
A series of visiting scholars (yet to be announced) will lecture on the scrolls at different times during the three-month display. Their appearances will be announced later and are open to the public.
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was prepared by Brigham Young University and has been on tour in several European countries and North America.