Ancient Scrolls

Bereshit_2012-12-19

2012-12-19 – I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls many years ago at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. As I left the museum a car load of Israelis stopped me to ask how to get to the Knesset building, which is the seat of the Israeli government. At the moment I was standing in full view of the Knesset so I (a foreigner) only had to point to enlighten the natives.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the late 1940s. Through wars and academic intrigue they have been strangely inaccessible. Google has now arranged with the Israel Museum for the scrolls (fragments, really) to be available through their own website.

I decided to check it out. The first fragment I looked at (shown here) is the beginning of the book of Genesis that has such a significant place in the writing of my first novel Cain’s Mother-in-Law. The words on this fragment, which are 2,000 years old or so, are clearly legible. And I can read them.

My novel takes a nontraditional view of the meaning of these words. I don’t read them as a recipe for world creation. They have another sort of power for me: a power of connecting people (you’ll see when you read my novel). Seeing them in this ancient manuscript adds to the sense of connection, a connection that spans the ages.

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