The most mysterious manuscript of the Dead Sea narrates the departure of Noah after the flood

The most mysterious manuscript of the Dead Sea narrates the departure of Noah after the flood

The Museum of Israel exhibits for first time apocryphal Genesis, one of Dead Sea scrolls that had hirto been kept in air-conditioned chamber built expressly to house delicate manuscripts found in caves of Qumran, of more Of 2000 years old, and to which only curators of museum accede. The now-exposed parchment is one of most mysterious texts of first seven scrolls of Dead Sea found 1947 in a cave in Judean desert. “It was by far worst-state document, so far it has been impossible to show it,” said curator Adolfo Roitman, director of book Sanctuary. Dated in first century B.C. and written in Aramaic, it gars from Chapter 5 of Genesis to 15th. A part of Bible that speaks of Abraham and Noah but counted on significant differences, hence it is considered an apocryphal text. Its content does not shake foundations of Vatican — which it considers Dead Sea manuscripts of universal interest — but it lends itself to being subject of new conspiracy ories to question biblical text. “It is certainly a very old copy of an original text. The traces of writing are made with great care, without errors and that at that time was only possible if document was to be copied before, says Roitman. In parchment, which can be seen se days in Jerusalem, passage of end of universal Deluge is narrated. Enlarge photo piece of manuscript now exhibited in an urn in Jerusalem. Lourdes Baeza Unlike Genesis — which gars that Noah comes out of ark with his family and first thing he does is erect an altar and make a sacrifice for God — manuscript preserved in holy City tells how Noah makes sacrifice within Ark. “From a historical point of view it would also make sense because if we are talking about destruction that swept Earth, sacrifice would have done it to be sure to purify outside,” says Roitman next to showcase containing text. Moreover, se fragments of apocryphal Genesis are not narrated in third person, but it is same Noah who tells story. Its enormous deterioration has brought specialists to forefront for decades. That is why it has not even been able to digitize to be consulted online. Of 22 columns that compose it, best preserved are last, from 18 to 22. “It has its logic because to remain rolled, characters at end of roll are least exposed have been to light and humidity,” explains Roitman. They are only fragments of this parchment that were fleetingly shown in 1955, in Terra Sancta building in Jerusalem, when n prime Minister of Israel, Moshe Sharett, announced that Israeli State had bought four lost rolls missing from The seven that were found in so-called Cave 1 of Qumran. Decomposition The experts have been dealing with seemingly unstoppable decomposition of this text for years. Unlike or rolls found in same cave, this manuscript is a parchment, not a papyrus, and its ink seems to be what makes it so fragile. “It is composed of an alloy of charcoal and resins, as ink of or rolls, but apocryphal Genesis also contains copper which makes it especially sensitive to light. We have photographs in which this deterioration is appreciated when comparing current state, with state in which it was in 1955, when Professor James Bieberkraut worked on it for first time, “says curator. Bieberkraut was first expert in Israel who was in charge of conservation of rolls. But n it was unknown that this parchment is especially sensitive to light. So much that it would not even resist being exposed in sanctuary of book, under same conditions of or documents of Qumran. Therefore, for this sample experts have conditioned a special urn covered with a smart glass. The glass is composed of two layers that allow passage of a beam of light between m so that, when a button is pressed, parchment becomes visible only for 30 seconds, but it is never illuminated directly. The showcase contains a microchip that constantly records environmental conditions. “The or manuscripts are exhibited by parts. Every three months we show a different section of m, so we assure ir preservation. But with apocryphal Genesis we cannot do that because it would disintegrate. So this time to see it is unique, “says Roitman. The fragments are exposed until June. Then y’ll go back to sleep in chamber where y’ve been over 50 years. World Tour to Jerusalem Museum of Israel that keeps ancient scrolls of Dead Sea. Joan Mas Autonell (EFE) Efe

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