Israel Archaeological Exhibition Opens at Metropolitan Museum

The oldest known Biblical scroll, the Book of Isaiah, and two Non-Biblical manuscripts that were unearthed in a small cave near the Dead Sea in 1947 are being shown in the exhibition “From the Land of the Bible” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which opened today. More than 50,000 years of the history of man as artist and craftsman is related in the exhibit, which is presented by the American Fund for Israel Institutions in cooperation with the Association of Israel Museums.

The scrolls are among hundreds of antiquities from pre-historic times through the Byzantine period which compose the first comprehensive archaeological exhibition from Israel to be seen in the United States. From tiny amulets, coins and seals to a colossal 3rd century A.D. porphyry statue of a Roman emperor, weighing seven tons, the objects displayed review the fascinating cultural changes and the progress of man as a thinker, inventor and artist in the land of the Bible.

Thought to pre-date any other Old Testament manuscripts by some 1,000 years, the Isaiah Scroll is part of a collection of manuscripts that constitutes one of the most important discoveries ever made of Old Testament documents. The scroll, containing the text of Isaiah written in Hebrew, dates no later than 70 A. D. and probably is 1st century B. C. in origin. This and other scrolls were found in pottery jars in a cave located near the site of an ancient Essence settlement 25 miles east of Jerusalem.

The exhibition will remain open until September 7. A large-scale showing of contemporary Israeli painting are presented in association with the archaeological exhibition. The collection of 75 paintings was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

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