The end of September may not only afford you an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, but it may also allow you the chance to see first-hand some of the earliest writings of Judaism and Christianity.
For those attending the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia at the end of September and even those residents looking for something different to do, the Pennsylvania Convention Center will display a rare collection of biblical texts and artifacts.
“Verbum Domini II: God’s Word Goes Out to the Nations” will be showcased from Monday, September 21st through Saturday, September 26th at the Convention Center. The exhibition features fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, five pages from the Bodmar Psalms Codex, a near-complete copy of the book of Psalms in Greek on papyrus from the third to fourth centuries, and Christian texts from the sixth to eight centuries, most of them in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. Also on display will be a first edition King James Bible from 1611, said to be the most influential translation of the Bible ever produced in English and the Eliot Bible of 1685, a second edition of the first Bible ever printed in America.
Originally exhibited at the Vatican in Rome, “Verbum Domini II” will spotlight more than 80 artifacts from the Museum of the Bible’s Green Collection, one of the largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts in the world. The exhibit will encompass 15,000-square-feet in eight galleries and 24 display cases in Hall G of the Convention Center and easily accessible for World Meeting of Families delegates and the curious who wander in off the street.
Coinciding with the Vatican exhibit, the Penn Museum this week has taken the wraps off its display of ancient religious writings including sacred texts from the Bible. Titled, “Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World,” the display will showcase writings that have survived for thousands of years. One of the highlights is a 1600-year-old papyrus fragment of a handwritten copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Written in ancient Greek, it contains the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew which starts with the lineage of Jesus and describes how Mary became with child by the Holy Spirit.
The Penn Museum treasures also include an ancient clay tablet in Sumerian cuneiform from the site of Nippur in Mesopotamia containing the earliest version of the Mesopotamian flood story. A version of this story tells the flood that destroyed humankind and closely parallels the biblical story of Noah and his ark.
The Penn Museum show will run through November 7th.