An exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls was at the Cincinnati Museum Center, wrapping up in two weeks. Over the weekend, we went. They do not allow photography of the scrolls themselves, but they had some artifacts in the rooms leading up to it that were quite interesting.
There were representative artifacts of all the cultures that inhabited Israel. As a baker and gone to Catholic schools for twelve years, I found a stamp for communion bread interesting. It comes from the Twelfth or Thirteenth Century CE.
What was really striking, when looking at the scrolls themselves, was how this writing survived more than two thousand years. I tried to imagine scrapes from my journal on display by some distant culture, millennia after my death. It occurs to me that, having achieved such a high degree of literacy among a broad spectrum of people, it could be lost quit quickly. So much of what is “written” today does not see paper. It seems more permanent–it can be easily replicated and passed around–but also, easy for the system to go away that produces it.
It was an impressive exhibit.