Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually includes three different topics:
- Dead Sea Scrolls—The finding of the scrolls and the tedious process of reassembling the pieces into scripture
- Hebrew Word Pictures—explanation of the Hebrew alphabet, how words are formed, and how the letters and words make pictures
- The Forbidden Book—How the Bible text and language changed through the Reformation
Each section is about 20 minutes long, with a total viewing time of 60 minutes. As you might notice from the topics, the overall theme is the history of the Bible and how it came to us. The video segments each seemed to be of a museum lecture. A speaker in a small auditorium explained the topic to visitors. Photographs and short videos of historical sites were shown as the speaker explained each topic.
I found the topics explored to be very interesting. I had no idea that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found as thousands of tiny fragments that are being reassembled to this day. Or that much of it was unreadable until the use of infrared light until the late ‘60’s.
It was fascinating to learn that Hebrew came from the Phoenician alphabet (which is what we use today) and that the early form of Hebrew script is very similar to our alphabet. Furthermore, each letter has not only a sound attached to it, but a meaning. Words consist of word pictures as well as phonetic spellings. Amazing! I have thought of this over the past week while reading passages from Psalms, where many of the chapters consist of acrostic (ABC) verses.
I was more familiar with the reformers of the church and with the transformation of our present Bible, but still learned some new things, for example, John Wycliffe was also a scientist who invented bifocals. (I always heard this credited to Ben Franklin, but he apparently only improved upon Wycliffe's design.)
I found the format less interesting. As a lecture format, it just didn’t have the appeal of a typical documentary. The speakers seemed very knowledgeable, but the first speaker, in particular, droned on and on in a monotone that made me feel that he’d given this talk hundreds of times. Emily proclaimed the DVD to be “boring” although she had initially been eager to watch it. We did have some good discussions about the content and ideas, though, so she did learn from the video. The content was excellent, and it correlated with our history and Bible studies well, but the lecture format was just not quite what I had expected.
Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls sells for $19.95. I felt that this particular video was most appropriate for high school age and up, although some middle schoolers might be interested as well.
Please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew page to learn more about other DVD’s from New Liberty Videos.