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Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments, Biblical Artifacts on View in Azusa

by Tom Tugend

May 11, 2010 | 5:29 pm

Five fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a collection of rare biblical artifacts will be on display May 21 through July 18 at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Azusa.

The exhibition, “Treasures of the Bible: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Beyond,” is part of APU’s mission “to play a part in history by carefully preserving, while also sharing, these remarkable treasures with the public,” Jon Wallace, president of the Christian evangelical institution, said.

Among the biblical artifacts are a 5,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, a Gutenberg bible leaf, a 17th century Sefer Torah scroll and original King James Bibles dating from 1611 to 1640.

The five Dead Sea Scrolls fragments were purchased by APU last summer and will be available for public viewing for the first time, APU spokeswoman Allison Oster said.

“The fragments from Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Daniel confirm the accuracy of the Scriptures and are therefore as significant to Christians as to Jews,” APU Executive Vice President David Bixby said in a phone interview.

Evangelicals believe in the infallibility of the Bible, and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls “is the single most important archaeological discovery in history,” Bixby said.

The exhibit also emphasizes the Jewish roots of Christianity. “One crucial function of the university is to preserve the heritage of the past and show that many principles learned by past generations transcend eras and cultures and are relevant for us today,” said Timothy Finlay, APU associate professor of Old Testament.

“The tragedy of the present era is that we are in grave danger of forgetting these principles,” he added. “This exhibit reminds us that we have much to learn from the peoples of the past.”

Besides APU, only two other American educational institutions — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and the University of Chicago — own Dead Sea Scrolls fragments.

There are an estimated 15,000 known fragments, many in private collections.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase admission tickets in advance online at apu.edu/deadseascrolls for specific dates and times. The Web site also includes information on ticket prices and directions to the college campus. The phone contact is (626) 815-5494.

APU is located 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles and has an enrollmentof 9,000 undergraduate and graduatestudents.

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