See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments
See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments This photo shows the world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments, written on one of the Dead Sea Scrolls (AP photos)
See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments
Lexile: 930L

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The world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display at Israel's leading museum. The exhibit traces civilization's most pivotal moments.

The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll comes from a collection of the world's most ancient biblical manuscripts discovered near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem. It has never before been publicly displayed in Israel. It 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. Then it will be returned to a secure, pitch-black, climate-controlled storage facility there.

It is one of 14 ancient objects displayed in "A Brief History of Humankind." The exhibit includes historical objects that span hundreds of thousands of years.

"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. In addition, there are the oldest known remains of a communal bonfire from 800,000 years ago. Skulls from the oldest remains of a family burial are on display as well.

Also included is the world's oldest complete sickle. It's a 9,000-year-old object. The sickle represents the transition from hunter-gatherers to settled civilization that worked the land.

The objects are framed in dramatically lit cases in a dark exhibition hall. They were all discovered in the Holy Land. They are 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.

The exhibit contains even more.

There is a 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian tablet. It is on loan to the museum. Coins that are 2,700 years old and come from what is now Turkey, are also on display.

Not everything in the exhibit is so old. An original handwritten manuscript of Albert Einstein's groundbreaking theory of relativity caps the exhibit. Einstein first published the theory in 1905. He generally is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. Physics is a science. It deals with matter, energy, motion and force.

Critical thinking challenge: The Einstein manuscript contains his theory of relativity first published in 1905. Why is it referred to as not so old?

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Assigned 77 times

  • Chloes-Pav
    5/12/2015 - 09:55 a.m.

    This is so interesting. I want to see it. It is a shame that it only is on display for 2 weeks. I wonder when it will be out again. I hope that I can see this when I go to Israel in a few years!

  • RaquelC405
    5/12/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    Wow! I think that's pretty interesting, and neat to have a REALLY old artifact! And it's one of the most famous script in the world! It must be very delicate to have survive all those years.

  • pablov918
    5/12/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    this is actually cool the worlds oldest copy of the ten commandments see what they actually said about not other people might copying it and making it mean something else.

  • jamesb-Rat
    5/12/2015 - 12:15 p.m.

    Well I just can't believe the ten complicated. But the real thing is destroyed

    The The I in don't have Is have just Don't Have Just Don't Don't Have Don't

  • rachelh10503
    5/12/2015 - 02:41 p.m.

    I love to learn about the history of the commandments. To me it is very interesting of how they came to be and how they thought of every one of them.

  • Robertnjetblack
    5/12/2015 - 04:45 p.m.

    I think it is intriguing how the oldest copy of the ten commandment's is stored. I also think that it is very interesting how far back of historical objects they have in the display.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    5/12/2015 - 09:03 p.m.

    The museum must be widely visited if it has so many interesting artifacts from the past. I think that is is amazing that the copy of the artifacts were preserved or kept safe through all these years. The ten commandments were given by God to Moses when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. I would like to see objects and artifacts that were a hundred to one and a half million years old. The museum sounds interesting and I would hope to hear more about it.

  • jamesb-Rat
    5/13/2015 - 10:55 a.m.

    I am surprise that it is't broke. And it is copied from the real thing and it is a little rips in the copy one wow just wow

  • genesisl-boo
    5/13/2015 - 11:14 a.m.

    The Einstein manuscript contains his theory of relativity first published in 1905 is not so old because compared to everything else it is merely a fraction of the old things in the museum

  • AStephanie-Cas
    5/13/2015 - 09:07 p.m.

    It is interesting to me that something so important can last this long. I think it was great to display the copy in a museum. It's a shame that they could only play it for such a short amount of time. There is so much history and amazing facts about the Ten Commandments. I mean who wouldn't want to see it?

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