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Dead Sea Scrolls in a Command Performance on Broadway

They are priceless ancient manuscripts, the earliest known copies of the Bible's Old Testament. And they are making an appearance in New York's famed Time Square for the first time.

Discovered by Arab Bedouins in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea, about 20 miles from Jerusalem, the scrolls have given scholars hard copy proof of accuracy, of many parts of the Holy Scriptures.

Just 20 of the thousands of fragments of the ancient scrolls are on display at Discovery Times Square, kept under thick, dark glass.

There's one from the book Isaiah, containing the famous verses that predict the coming of a Messiah. Christians have pointed to those verses as prophecy about Jesus.

Another verse from Psalm 121, which Bible readers know as "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills. From whence cometh my help?"

Times Square is the crossroads of the world, and as such it attracts people from all faiths. So curators have created the exhibit to reflect the strength of its historical significance, using the religion neutral dating system of BCE (Before Common Era) instead of BC (Before Christ)...and CE (Common Era) instead of AD (Anno Domini, Year of Our Lord)

Lawrence Schiffman, curator and Dead Sea Scroll scholar, says, "The way a person should relate to this and, in fact, I think this is true whether they are a religious believer or not, is that what we see here is the background of the whole religious system that underlies Western civilization."

Schiffman explains that the exhibit shows the real live relationship of Christianity and Judaism, how they developed.

Included in the exhibit are some 700, centuries-old artifacts, giving viewers a look inside the ancient biblical world of faith.

Schiffman says, "we've got here a house that you can look into and get a sense of what was there.

How people live. How people bathed. How they cooked. We've got some weapons. We've got all kinds of things from that real life that you read about, especially in the books like Samuel and Kings."

Included in the exhibit is a three-ton piece of Jerusalem's Western Wall. People are encouraged to place their prayers on the section, and those prayers will be taken to Jerusalem.
It's taken several years for the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit to come together. It will be in Times Square through April 15.

Lauren Green currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief religion correspondent based in the New York bureau. She joined FNC in 1996.

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