by Gordon Franz
The fantastic Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times exhibition at the Discovery Times Square building in New York City is about more than just the Dead Sea Scrolls; it is about daily life in the Biblical world. The subtitle — “Life and Faith in Biblical Times” — says it all. The exhibition runs until April 15, 2012, in New York City, and then, in May 2012, it will be at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where it will run for another five months.
The Bible is more than just another book with black (and sometimes red) letters on a page. The Bible is about real people, in real places, experiencing real events in history. Sometimes, because of our twenty-first century Western mindset and experiences, it is difficult to imagine how people lived in Biblical times. For example, the LORD metaphorically searched Jerusalem with lamps (Zeph. 1:12). When we think of a lamp, we think of a stand with a shade and a socket with an electric light bulb that illuminates when a switch is flipped. In the Biblical world there was no electricity, only olive oil and a wick to light the oil lamp. This exhibition will give you an idea of what those lamps actually looked like.
Through the exhibition you will get a glimpse into the material culture of the Biblical world and add a third dimension to your Bible study! You will also be able to experience “Oh, now I see [literally] what the Bible is talking about” moments!
As an archaeologist and a Bible teacher, I was fascinated by the whole exhibition, which is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). I was able to view some of the latest archaeological discoveries from Israel for the first time, objects that I had only read about in the newspapers or in the archaeological journals. The last time the IAA sent such a large display of antiquities to New York City was to the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the winter of 1986-87. Hopefully, it will not be another 25 years before the IAA sends another collection to the Big Apple! Let’s enjoy this one while we can.
A Guide for a Self-Guided Tour
I have written a 39-page guide specifically for an Evangelical Christian audience, but others will find it helpful as well. The guide can be used for a self-guided tour of the exhibition by home-schooled students, Christian school classes, Bible study groups, Sunday school classes, church youth groups, and individuals who are interested in the world of the Bible. Please feel free to download the guide and visit this incredible collection of rare objects from Israel that illustrates life and faith in Biblical times.
Where, When, and How Much?
The Discovery Times Square exhibition hall is located at 226 West 44th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, in New York City. The hall is across the street from the Shubert Theatre and also a parking garage. Please note that West 44th Street is one-way going east so, if you are driving, Discovery Times Square must be approached from 8th Avenue, which is a one-way street going north.
The exhibition is open Sunday to Thursday, 10 AM through 8 PM and Friday and Saturday from 10 AM through 9 PM. The last entry is one hour before closing. The exhibition will run until April 15, 2012 and then it will relocate to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and run for five months beginning in May 2012.
Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $22.50 for seniors and $19.50 for children. You can order tickets over the Discovery Time’s Square’s Wed site, or buy tickets at the window at the entrance. A group rate is available for groups of ten or more people. To purchase group tickets or to find out more details, please call 855-266-5387, or send an E-mail to [email protected]
For a $5 discount off the ticket price, click here for the flyer. This flyer can be used to purchase up to 8 tickets at a time and is good for every day of the week except holidays.
Headsets are available for an audio tour of select objects with commentary by Professor Lawrence Shiffman of Yeshiva University; Professor Bill Dever, retired from Arizona State University; and Professor Ronnie Reich of Haifa University and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Headsets may be rented for $7 apiece.
Discovery Times Square Website:
For pictures of some of the objects on display: