rom dead sea scrolls exhibition breaks record

in the midst of a global economic downturn, toronto has something about which to be very excited: the royal ontairo museum’s exhibition of the dead sea scrolls was a huge success. according to canada’s national post:

“Words that Changed the World,” is the most popular exhibition staged at the Royal Ontario Museum in the past nine years.

the numbers are quite impressive:

331,500 people visited the exhibit between its opening on June 27, 2009 and its January 3 closing earlier this year. That makes the exhibit the most successful since Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids almost a decade ago.

according to the museum’s press release,

From the exhibition’s June 27, 2009 opening to its January 3, 2010 closing, an exceptional 331, 500 visitors responded to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. This attendance includes those viewing the Ten Commandments Scroll, on display at the ROM for only 80 hours from October 10 through October 18, 2009. The great appeal of these presentations led to the Royal Ontario Museum’s 2009 attendance reaching 1,024,964 visitors. This figure includes Dead Sea Scrolls’school visits of approximately 12,000 students and accompanying adults, as well as over 790 organized groups representing approximately 23,000 visitors.

it is encouraging to see that 12,000 students got to see the scrolls. i’m always encouraged when young minds get to see anything ancient.

according to the press release the distinguished lecture series was also highly successful:

Approximately 4,500 people attended the Anne Tanenbaum Lecture Series, making it the largest, most successful lecture series in the ROM’s history.

the fact that 4,500 people were willing to pay to come and hear professional nerds talk about the scrolls also speaks to the intelligence of the toronto residents and visitors. imho, the distinguished lecturer series was a perfect blend of dss scholars, and one of the best and most relevant programs ever assembled.

so, despite drummed up protests across from the entrance, the rom experienced record attendance. i’m trying to determine what was different about the toronto exhibition that was not present in san diego and raleigh/durham. why was the toronto exhibition so positive? can anyone think of anything?

anywho, congrats to the rom, its administration, all the participants, and the curator, dr. risa levitt kohn for all their hard work. your success is well deserved!

an exercise in textual criticism

attention all text critics! the following is a little exercise in text criticism that applies our technique to some modern literature pertaining to the dead sea scrolls.

here is your assignment: below are three letters. examine them carefully. answer the following questions.

  • what can you tell me about authorship of the letters?
  • how many different scribal hands were involved in the making of these three letters?
  • what similarities do the three letters possess?
  • are the letters the product of a single scribal school?
  • what is the purpose of these letters?

leave your answers in the comments area below. enjoy!

(keep in mind: if you like this exercise, there are many more letters. these are just the ones i’ve made public ; -)  -bc)

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