Israel to Display Oldest Known Copy of Ten Commandments

2000-year-old scroll set will be exhibited with other artifacts as part of new Israel Museum show.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The 10 Commandments, on a Dead Sea Scroll.
The 10 Commandments, on a Dead Sea Scroll.Credit: AP

The world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in an exhibit tracing civilization's most pivotal moments.

The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll, from a collection of the world's most ancient biblical manuscripts discovered near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem, has never before been publicly displayed in Israel and has only been shown in brief exhibits abroad, said Pnina Shor of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The manuscript is so brittle that it will only be on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for two weeks before it is returned to a secure, pitch-black, climate-controlled storage facility at the museum.

It is one of 14 ancient objects displayed in "A Brief History of Humankind," an exhibit of historical objects spanning hundreds of thousands of years.

Curator Tania Coen-Uzzielli. Photo by Emil Salman

"When you are thinking about universal law, the universal principle of ethics, ... this is the first law that comes to your mind," exhibit curator Tania Coen-Uzzielli said.

The exhibit includes tools used in an elephant hunt from 1.5 million years ago, the oldest known remains of a communal bonfire from 800,000 years ago, skulls from the oldest remains of a family burial and the world's oldest complete sickle — a 9,000-year-old object that represents the transition from hunter-gatherers to settled civilization working the land.

These objects, framed in dramatically lit cases in a dark exhibition hall, all were discovered in the Holy Land, a testament to the region's central role in human history. The museum is mounting the exhibit to mark its 50th anniversary.

"After only 50 years, we may be one of only a very few museums worldwide that can tell such a broad story from its own holdings," museum director James Snyder said. "We are doing so with objects that originated here."

A 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian tablet on loan to the museum and 2,700-year-old coins from what is now Turkey, are also on display. An original handwritten manuscript of Albert Einstein's groundbreaking theory of relativity caps the exhibit.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage