Monday, September 07, 2009

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ancient World: An Exhibition (Part 1)

Before I go into a pictorial post of the exhibition at The Arts House—one that I have enjoyed tremendouslyI feel it is only right if I tell you what is it about. I traveled to Singapore just for this trip and it made my two-day, one-night trip totally worthwhile. I did feel overwhelmed and a little information overloaded, but that is because I don't know much about the Dead Sea Scrolls! Now armed with information (and loads of photos), I have to figure out how to present them to you so that you too can enjoy it with me. Better still, I hope you will visit the exhibition yourself and while you're at it, bring all your loved ones and friends!

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ancient World
is an exhibition that tells the history of the Bible from antiquity to modern times. It is told through the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts, historical facts, and the early printed Bibles. In short, it is a story of how we got the Bible in English.

Well, some of you may ask, why should I care, I’m not a Christian?… Fair enough. But still, we cannot ignore the fact that the Bible is an important book that has stood the test of time. Do try looking at it from a historical perspective. The English Bible that we might take for granted is the result of thousands of years of struggle: Jews of Qumran, whose caves housed the Dead Sea Scrolls, were slaughtered by the Romans for their beliefs and their sacred writings; scholars who translated the Bible into English were murdered by—get this—Church and State authorities. (Source: Exhibition Commemorative Book)

This exhibition is unique as it tells the FULL history by displaying genuine examples of every phase of the story from the earliest Bible fragments to the first Bible that went to the Moon.

To get a better idea of what’s in store for you, do purchase the Exhibition Guide, which is sold at SG$2 (~US$1.40 or MYR5). The trilingual Guide gives you the following:
  • Exhibition layout
  • Walls A to Q showcasing the origins of writing (proto-cuneiform and cuneiform tablets); the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls; scribes and scriptoriums; the King James Bible; important people such as John Wycliffe, Desiderius Erasmus, Martin Luther, William Tyndale; and many more
To make your visit even more worthwhile, the Exhibition Commemorative Book is on sale, too, at SG$25 (~US$17.50 or MYR62). It is a high-quality, full-colour, 60-page book written by Lee Biondi. It will give you a good understanding of:
  • The origins of writing
  • The manuscript tradition of Holy Scripture
  • The history of Holy Scripture in Print
  • The Bible in America
  • and, a suggestion for further reading on the history of the Bible
Here's a glimpse of what to expect over the next few days.
Stay tuned!

Tomorrow or over the next few days, I will take you through the exhibition from start to finish right here in my blog. But, I will not show too much because I want you to go there and see it for yourselves. Go to the exhibition (check out the ticketing details here) and spend about 90 minutes doing the following:
  • Watch the 10-minute video preview in the chamber where parliament proceedings used to be held (yes, this is the time you get to enter the chamber!)
  • Go through the exhibits in three rooms
  • Listen to the short lectures by curators for items in each room (just like in the photo above)
  • Participate in the Activity Room