I've mentioned before that we are studying Ancient History this year and also that I want my kids to know the history of the Scriptures and to be able to speak the truth of how and when and why they came to be. I believe that God has given us "proof" of the validity of the Scriptures. But the sad thing is that it can be hard to find that proof as an ordinary Christian in America today. Too often have I been told that we need to just accept on faith or given the circular argument that the Bible says it is true and therefore it must be. I am guessing that is enough for a lot of people, but it's not enough for me and I have at least one kid that I already know it won't be enough for him! I say all of that to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a DVD from New Liberty Videos. This DVD is called Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
I have to confess that I was so excited to see a DVD about the Dead Sea Scrolls that I honestly didn't pay much attention to what it was actually about. So I was quite surprised when we sat down to watch it and I realized that yes, 1/3 of the DVD was about the Scrolls but there was much more to it than that!
The DVD is an hour long, but it is divided into three parts so don't feel pressured to watch it all in one sitting. We did, but that was simply because I was so fascinated that I wouldn't let the kids turn it off. Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls is intended for general audiences with no specific age range mentioned. Our experience was it was completely "family friendly" with no scary, inappropriate, or violent content. I, as an adult, was, as I said, completely fascinated and wanted to watch it again right away. My 11 and 10 year olds were intrigued and stayed engaged the entire hour. My 8 and 7 year olds were fidgety but were still able to contribute to the discussion afterwards so they obviously got something out of it!
The first part was Joel Lampe talking about the Scrolls. He discussed who put them in the cave, why they were hidden so long, their discovery, and, most interesting how the 19,000 pieces were put back together. It was amazing just what a difficult job that was and how much patience and perseverance was required. It also impressed me how technology like infra-red cameras and even DNA was used in putting together the pieces of the puzzle.
The second part was, hands down, my favorite. It was Dr. Frank Seekins explaining the word pictures of the Hebrew language. We learned that Hebrew is a word based language, and a picture based language and a relationship based language. And this is the language that God used to share Himself with us. Isn't that amazing?!? Truly, this part wasn't long enough! I was blown away by facts like, the word for husband and the word for wife are identical except for one letter. If you take that one letter from each picture word and put the two together, it forms the word for God. Without that one letter, both husband and wife become the picture word for destructive fire. So with God, marriage is a bringing of our differences into a picture of God's glory. Without God, man and woman together become a double (the ultimate in Hebrew) destructive fire. Isn't that amazing?!?! And there was more, but I won't give it all away!
The third part was Dr. Craig Lampe detailing the history of the Bible from Constantine to William Tyndale. He talked about the translation of the Scriptures from Greek to Latin then to German and then to English. He discussed the sacrifices that Luther, Wycliffe, Tyndale and others made in order for the Bible to be put into the hands of anyone and everyone that wanted to read it. The Bible that I own several copies of and take for granted way too much.
As I said, we just sat down one day and watched the entire 60 minute video. Afterwards, we talked about it. This was necessary because both the big kids were confused on some big issues in the third part! I'm not sure if this was because their brains were a little weary by the time we got to the third section or if the way Dr. Lampe explained it was hard for them to follow, but we did get it straightened out in the end.
The kids said:
Kaytie: The thing is, it wasn't mostly about the Dead Sea Scrolls like I thought it would be. The only thing that was about the Scrolls was the first section. The rest was about Hebrew and the Bible. I learned that a lot of the scrolls were found in different caves and they had cool libraries with shelves in the caves. I learned that Hebrew goes from right to left and it made me want to learn Hebrew and find out more about the cool word pictures! The most amazing one was the equivalent to "z" means finished and it is a cross. I liked that Hebrew can be read both by words and pictures. Finally, I learned that there were a lot of people that translated it and the first ones were incorrect but the people who translated it the second time wanted people to know what the Scripture really said so they translated it correctly.
Nate: It was interesting. I liked learned about how the Hebrew language explained parts of the Bible and what the Bible means. I liked the infra-red camera.
Daniel: I learned that boys and girls are supposed to be their sibling's guards.* A boy was trying to find his goat and cracked some pottery and went in the cave and found the first Dead Sea Scroll. Then people were alarmed and went into other caves to find more and some people did. And in the caves there was slits in the walls where there were shelves with lots of scrolls on them. I liked the infra-red thing because it helped us see them better! I liked the displays the guy had of the scrolls and the view from the caves.
*this was from the Hebrew section... another fascinating tidbit of a picture word
Abbie: It was fascinating because I could read the Hebrew! I learned that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves, but I forgot what the name was. A boy found them because he threw rocks at a cave and heard glass breaking and went in and there was pots with scrolls in them and that's how he found them.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD and want to hear more of what each of these three men have to say! I especially loved the Hebrew section, which I even made my husband watch. Like Kaytie, it made me want to learn Ancient Hebrew so that I can understand the Bible better! But the other two sections were also fascinating. I have rewatched this video several times and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Bible history. Be warned, though, it will leave you hungry for more.
You can buy a copy of Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls for $19.95.