Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in Times Square Features Largest Collection of Biblical Artifacts

Discovery Time Square's Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times

Written By: Catherine Wolinski

Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times, an archaeological exhibit that opened in New York last October, continues to impress and educate those curious about the physical beginnings of Judaism and Christianity.  Located in Discovery Times Square at 226 W. 44th St., the collection boasts the largest collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever collected.

“The exhibition brings to life a fascinating period in history and vividly highlights how archaeologists and researchers piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life and ancient written documents,” says the exhibitions curator, Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn.

A piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls

A piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The main feature of the exhibition, the Dead Sea Scrolls, is an assembly of ancient religious texts found in the Holy Land, extracted from collections of the Israel National Treasures.  Penned 2,000 years ago and hidden when Roman forces advanced upon Jerusalem in 70 CE, the scrolls were first found in the caves of Qumran in Israel in 1947. Now on display in New York City, the 20 scrolls (displayed 10 at a time) include four making their first public appearance.

Among the newly discovered pieces of the past are the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible, including pieces from the books of Psalms, Isaiah, and Deuteronomy.  Additionally, they are accompanied by an authentic three-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall, believed to have fallen from the Southwest corner of the Second Temple’s outer wall during the Roman invasion. Also on display are Biblical artifacts, including remains of religious items, war weapons, stone carvings, mosaics, and everyday household accessories.

“The pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and of course, the scrolls on display in this exhibition constitute a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy,” Dr. Kohn continued.  “They teach us about the past and also about ourselves.”

a collection of pottery

An example of the pottery displayed among 500 Biblical artifacts

The first in New York City of its size, Discovery Times Square is an exhibition center that presents educational and immersive explorations of culture and history.  Previously renowned for exhibits such as Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop, King Tut, Pompeii The Exhibit, and Harry Potter: The Exhibition, the center’s current exhibit lives up to expectations in its size and scope with over 500 artifacts from the Holy Land. Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times chronicles the Biblical to the Byzantine periods, offering a physical timeline of the formation of Judaism and Christianity.

The exhibition, created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), will run at Discovery Times Square until April 15, 2012.

Police Shut Down Art Exhibiting Photos of Mugabe-Related Violence

President Robert Mugabe

When Owen Maseko decided to explore President Mugabe-related violence, he thought it best to gather the photos of missing people, the pictures of the mine shafts where they are allegedly hidden, and the reports that document the 1980 massacre of thousands of civilians in the western Matabeleland district. But, the police in Zimbabwe weren’t very amused with the exhibit, and they quickly shut it down by cuffing Maseko on incitement charges.

Attorney Kucaca Phulu reported that his client spent the weekend in jail as a result of all of the excitement.  Maseko reportedly sought bail the following Monday, but the courts postponed a ruling until Tuesday. The very next day, Harare Police reportedly pushed a human rights group to abandon another exhibit, which also employed photographs to illustrate the rampant Mugabean political violence. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who now works with Mugabe, condemned the police’s repeated attempt to seize the entire 65-photograph display. Tsvangirai believed that such exhibits were a portion of the campaign for national healing.

Owen Maseko hard at work

Today, with the death of Joshua Nkomo – Mugabe’s vice president – the allegiance is with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party. As more proponents for free-thought art jump onto Mugabe’s payroll, it grows ever more doubtful that a third violence exhibit will even have a chance to be torn back down.

Shaquille O’Neal curates the new art exhibit, “Size Does Matter”

Some Call Him 'Shaq"

The 7-foot-1, 325 pound, Shaquille is an all-star veteran who not only plays professional basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but is also a reserve police officer in Miami, a movie star (Kazaam), a rapper, and now, a rookie art curator. The exhibit, “Size DOES Matter,” is open for display at the Flag Art Museum in Manhattan, and features 52 works by 39 artists.

As O’Neal looked for a wide variety of work, he said that he leaned more toward those with a unique approach. He mentioned Mark Wagner’s portrait of the basketball star, which he made entirely out of cut-up dollar bills; Ron Mueck also grabbed his attention with his immense sculpture that even made O’Neal himself look small.

Shaq said that he wanted to participate in designing the floor plan in lieu of an obligation to his team; luckily, through wonderful technology, Mr. O’Neal can explore the different options virtually while on the

One of the works on display

road for the regular season. He plans on making the art look good, while also playing with the viewer’s perception of the works. Since all 52 pieces are part of the show, O’Neal promised to not only consider the isolated piece, but also to understand how it relates to any neighboring items.

In the end, Shaq isn’t too keen on the entire theme of this exhibit, since he expressed an appreciation for all sizes of art. He explained how size may indeed provide a definite physical advantage, as it does in basketball, but that skill is also necessary to succeed.