Great Isaiah Scroll on View to the Public

Swords into plowshares: The Isaiah scroll and its message of peace, the most complete biblical Dead Sea scroll ever found, will be on view to the public for the first time in over forty years in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum from May 19 through August 30.

The Isaiah scroll – the most complete biblical Dead Sea scroll ever found.

Photo by the Israel Museum

(IFM) On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, the Israel Museum presents two major sections of the Great Isaiah Scroll – the most complete biblical Dead Sea Scroll document ever found and one of the world’s greatest archeological treasures – in a special installation in the Shrine of the Book.

For the first time in over forty years, the public will have the rare opportunity to view the two longest sections of the Scroll, featuring Isaiah’s celebrated message of peace: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares…" (Isaiah 2:4). In order to illustrate this important message, artifacts from the days of the prophet Isaiah (8th century B.C.), including a bent scimitar and agricultural tools, will be displayed together with the Scroll as part of this special exhibit.

The Isaiah Scroll (Manuscript A) is one of the first seven scrolls discovered in 1947 in a cave near Qumran, on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea. Of the 220 biblical scrolls found in the area, the complete Great Isaiah Scroll is one of the best preserved and the only one containing an entire biblical book. Dating from approximately 120 B.C., it is also one of the oldest Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Bible known to us before the Scrolls’ discovery.

Coinciding with this display, the Israel Museum will hold a major academic conference on July 6-8, 2008, celebrating sixty years since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, with participating experts from Israel and worldwide.