Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Early Biblical Manuscript on Display

The Associated Press reports that Jerusalem's Israel Museum has opened a display featuring a fragment of Old Testament manuscript believed to have been written around the 7th century CE. "The manuscript, containing the Song of the Sea section of the Old Testament's Book of Exodus, ... comes from what scholars call the silent era - a span of 600 years between the third and eighth centuries from which almost no Hebrew manuscripts survive."

The parchment is believed to have been left in the Cairo Genizah, a vast
depository of medieval Jewish manuscripts discovered in the late 1800s in a previously unknown room at Cairo's ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue. It was in private hands until the late 1970s, when its Lebanese-born American owner turned it over to the Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Special Collections Library at Duke University." It is now on loan to the Israel Museum, displayed in their Shrine of the Book exhibit along with the Dead Sea Scrolls.