Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another One To Add To Career Day

This weekend VGBF and I went to Charlotte, NC to see the Dead Sea Scrolls - live! - I mean, in person - parts of the real scrolls - written nearly two thousand years ago. It was AMAZING! The science behind finding, preserving, and deciphering the scrolls was interesting and well presented. Did you know molecular archaeologists even existed? I didn't. They are the ones who pieced hundreds of scrolls together from thousands and thousands of fragments by matching DNA in the parchment fragments (because parchment is made from animal skins and they can tell which pieces belonged to the same animal!) And the scrolls themselves? Were tiny! And hard to read (never mind the fact that I can't read Paleo-Hebrew or Aramaic anyway - the letters, had they been in any of the few alphabets I DO know would have been difficult to see.) The scrolls were in lighted boxes with large hanging information panels beside them. There were biblical texts and sectarian texts describing the community rules. There were biblical commentaries and 'lost' books like the book of Enoch that until they found these scrolls in Qumran were only available in relatively recent Ethiopian translations. It was FASCINATING. My favorite was a fragment of Isaiah in which the end days are being described. "They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain." I could go on a little rant about how 'Christians with a capital C' seem to like to ignore the Bible when it tells them to be peaceful - but I won't. Not this morning. I had such a lovely time at the exhibit and learned so much that I think I'll walk away with that instead of a sour attitude. And also? I think I'm going to try to talk one of my kids into becoming a molecular archaeologist! How cool would that be!

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