When the Franklin Institute opens its "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit May 12, visitors will catch a glimpse of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.
Centerpiece of the exhibit will be 20 scroll fragments found in the 1940s in Palestine near the Dead Sea. They are part of an extraordinary trove of nearly 1,000 parchments that include the oldest surviving texts of the Jewish Bible, several of which will be on display in Philadelphia.
Penned between 150 B.C. and A.D. 70 and sealed in urns, the scrolls make no mention of Jesus of Nazareth. But three ceramic bone-boxes in the vast exhibit will likely intrigue anyone interested in early Christian history.