Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

‘Book of Books’ Exhibits 2,000 Years of Bible Texts

Items include fragments from Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, early New Testament Scriptures, Cairo genizah, illuminated biblical manuscripts and Gutenberg Bible

By: Abigail Klein Leichman

Published: February 4th, 2014 in News » Israel

'Book of Books' Exhibits 2,000 Years of Bible Texts

For the first time ever, nearly 200 of the rarest biblical manuscripts and texts are displayed at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, through October 2014.

“The Book of Books” exhibition includes original fragments from the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Gutenberg Bible and the Cairo genizah, along with medieval illuminated manuscripts, Torah scrolls and other biblical relics. At the end is a working replica of the 15th century Gutenberg printing press that revolutionized the availability of the Scriptures.

“The exhibition is about the Bible as a book, not about theology,” says curator Dr. Filip Vukosavović as he takes ISRAEL21c through the show. “We cover over 2,000 years of the existence of the Bible as a physical item, and how it developed chronologically, geographically and linguistically throughout the world from Israel, where both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament originated.”

Since opening in October, the show has drawn so many visitors that its six-month run was extended.

Gutenberg Bible leaf from 1450 containing 1 Samuel in Latin. Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

One reason for its popularity is that “Book of Books” is not just artifacts displayed under glass. Using iPads installed throughout the exhibition, viewers can “open” the priceless works, magnify and browse through images of all the pages, and click on bullet points to learn additional information. Audio-guides are available in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian, German and Dutch.

Vukosavović shows ISRAEL21c how infrared light technology lets visitors discover, via the iPad, hidden layers of erased text on the pages of the Codex Climaci Rescriptus. Some of the scriptures inscribed in the sixth century in Greek and Christian Aramaic were “repurposed” by ninth-century Syriac scribes for a translation of Greek texts by John Climacus, a seventh-century abbot.

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Via ISRAEL21c

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