Song of the Sea: An Unknown Scroll Fragment from the 8th Century

May 15, 2007-December 31, 2007

Location: Shrine of the Book

Curator: Adolfo Roitman, Michal Dayagi-Mendels

A rare Torah manuscript from "the silent period" – some 500 years, between the 3rd and 8th centuries, from which almost no Hebrew biblical manuscripts have been found. Apparently written in Egypt, this fragment of a Torah scroll contains a section of the book of Exodus, including one of the earliest and most beautiful examples of biblical poetry, the Song of the Sea. The text of the manuscript is strikingly similar to the traditional Masoretic version familiar from later Bible codices (dating from the 9th century on). It constitutes a link between these medieval manuscripts and more ancient texts from the late Second Temple period, found in the Judean Desert. This special exhibit was on loan courtesy of the Rare Book Department at Duke University, North Carolina.