Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Church's Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Moves To Indianapolis
Johnson co IN Daily Journal 20Apr00 D3
By Matt Grills: Daily Journal staff writer
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- The LDS Church's exhibit on the Dead Sea
Scrolls has moved to an Indianapolis LDS Chapel, part of a seven-city
tour that the LDS exhibit is traveling throughout the midwest while a
larger exhibit is available at Chicago's Field Museum. The LDS
exhibit has no original pieces, only replicas.
But in spite of the fact it doesn't contain originals, it still
remains popular, according to Carrole Hatch, a volunteer and LDS
Church member traveling with the exhibit, "We've had wonderful
crowds," she said, describing the 2,000 that visited the exhibit in
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, just outside Detroit and the 1,400 that
attended over two days in Columbus, Ohio. She says more than half the
visitors are not LDS Church members.
The traveling exhibit was prepared by BYU and its FARMS research
organization. The exhibit details much of what is known about the
scrolls. Originally discovered in 1947, the more than 900 texts are
in the possession of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Scholars have
been trying to piece together the scrolls ever since they were
discovered, translate and publish them. So far, only about 40 percent
of the scrolls have been translated. "It's the world's greatest
jigsaw puzzle," says Hatch.
Indiana Dead Sea Scrolls specialist Ruth Homer says that BYU has been
interested in the scrolls since their discovery. Four teams of BYU
scholars are involved in the translation, and they developed a way to
use DNA tests on the animal skins on which the texts are written to
aid in matching fragments.