Dead Sea Scrolls with Religous Studies Scholar Seth Ward
19 Aug 2018 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Considered one of the most significant archaeological discoveries, the Dead Sea Scrolls became known to the modern world, when a Bedouin goatherd looking for a stray entered a mountainous cave in 1947. Subsequent excavations revealed more than 900 manuscripts written between 200 BC and 70 AD, which includes parts of every book except Esther from the Old Testament as well as previously unknown hymns, prayers, commentaries, mystical formulas and the earliest version of the Ten Commandments. Preserved by the dry desert conditions, these fragile fragments created a sensation by challenging our understanding of Judeo-Christian history. Their authorship and reason for being at the site near Qumran still remain a mystery.
Currently the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is featuring an internationally renowned exhibit of 10 originals scrolls (in rotation) along with 600 artifacts from the ancient Middle East, including inscriptions and seals, weapons, stone carvings, terracotta figurines, remains of religious symbols, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry, and a three-ton stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem that fell in 70 CE — the largest collection of artifacts to leave the Holy Land.
We are fortunate to have Yale alumnus Dr. Seth Ward ’74, MA ’78, PhD ’84 to provide an introduction and to answer questions during a CYA visit to the exhibition. Given the nature of the exhibition, a guided tour is not possible. Seth is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming. Previously he directed the University of Denver’s Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies for ten years and came to Denver after six years in Israel teaching at the University of Haifa and the Technion. Through University of Wyoming Summer Study Abroad in Israel, Seth affords students a multi-cultural view that goes beyond headlines and stereotypes through mix of experiences, lectures, tours and events. His knowledge and facility with groups will make for an enhanced and meaningful encounter with the displayed artifacts for those of us who require a handle to know at what we’re looking.