Rare Replica of Great Isaiah Scroll on Display at Museum

Biola University History Department Chair Founded Museum

Nov. 2, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

A rare replica of the Great Isaiah Scroll is now on display at the Museum of Biblical and Sacred Writings in Orange County that was founded by Biola University Department of History, Government, and Social Science Chair George Giacumakis.

The Great Isaiah Scroll is believed by scholars to be the longest and most complete of the Dead Sea Scrolls and measures 23 feet long.

Paul Rood, a Biola adjunct instructor in the political science program, attended the unveiling of the replica in late October that consists of digitally remastered photographs of the scrolls. The replicas are easier to read than the originals that show the wear and tear of the past 60 years according to Ken Kemp, the museum’s co-director.

Rood was quoted in The Orange County Register article “Scroll Replica Gets Home In O.C.”

According to the article, Rood said the scroll holds a lot of value and, “is like a time capsule for scholars.” Rood believes the scroll is one of the greatest pieces of prophetic literature in the Hebrew Bible.

The museum is the first in North America to have replicas of six of the Dead Sea Scrolls on display.

Giacumakis described how the process of retrieving the facsimiles was a miracle in itself through the loan of the facsimiles by a board member’s church.

Giacumakis gave credit to the Biola community for helping to make his dream of creating the museum a reality. Many professors donated their time to serve as board members as well as Biola graduates and current students who assisted in cataloguing items and managing the museum’s office.

“I appreciate all of the help and would love more people from the Biola community to be involved,” he said.

Giacumakis, professor of history and department chair at Biola recapped his journey that led to the founding of the museum. At the age of 70, he decided to leave his position as a full time Middle Eastern studies professor at Cal State Fullerton and wanted to create a museum that displayed sacred writings.

“I wanted to create a museum in hopes of bringing the ancient world to life by creating an educational museum that uses artifacts to teach kids and adults about history,” Giacumakis said.

Giacumakis began the developing process over a year ago, setting up a team who would help provide educational lectures and obtain artifacts. Headquarters for the museum were established at a building on the campus of the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine. The former base is being transformed into the Orange County Great Park that will be the future home of additional educational centers.

Due to construction, Giacumakis and his team had to find a temporary location and were fortunate to have Biola’s help. The Biola BOLD campus in Laguna Hills was able to provide offices for the team and showcase artifacts and research. The temporary site is accessible to visitors while the permanent home for the collections is under construction.

Written by Katherine Smith, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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