Ever thought you’d have the chance to see the world’s oldest and best preserved parchment of the Ten Commandments, on display right in the center of the Crossroads of the World? Here at Discovery Times Square, we’re incredibly excited to be able to bring the millennia-old Ten Commandments Scroll to New York City for the first time ever, and starting tomorrow you can see it our exhibit, Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times.
The Ten Commandments Scroll features the passage in Deuteronomy 5, and was written in Hebrew on a piece of parchment that measures only 18 inches by 3 inches. Scholars estimate that the scroll was written sometime between 50 CE and 1 CE, which makes it the oldest known parchment (animal skin) document featuring the Ten Commandments. There is only one document featuring the Ten Commandments that’s older: the Nash Papyrus, which was written on a plant-based paper in Egypt some 50 to 100 years before the scroll was composed. The next-oldest text of the Ten Commandments is from about 1000 CE- more than a thousand years later.
And the oldest copy of the Ten Commandments? That would be on the stone tablets that, according to the Bible, are stored in the Ark of the Covenant!
Because the scroll is so ancient and delicate (and important!), we can only display it for two weeks (until January 2), when it will be returned to its light-free, climate controlled storage site in Israel. You can buy your tickets here, and if you’re unable to make it to the exhibit before then Ten Commandments Scroll returns in January, you’ll still be able to marvel at the additional 10 Dead Sea Scrolls we’ll have on display at Discovery Times Square until April 15!