The Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit
Philadelphia - September 2012
Our daughter bought us tickets to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in Philadelphia. So last weekend we went.

Just seeing Philadelphia made me broaden my understanding of the history of the United States.

Back in Revolutionary times, there was no Washington, DC, yet, and Benjamin Franklin's hometown of Philadelphia was where Congress and the seat of the soon-to-be-independent nation was.

Having spent almost all my time in New York and seen only some parts of New England, the colonies seemed too small to me to be fighting for independence.

But after seeing Philadelphia and its many historic buildings, I realized the colonies were amassing wealth through their own hard work that fighting for independence was well justified.

I know my thoughts are amateurish and nothing especially noteworthy. But I guess I am just reiterating what I remember an economics professor of mine back in college in the Philippines told us one day after finding herself done with the day's lesson with a few more minutes to spare. After relaying her life as a student taking her masters in the United States, she said that travel -- the implication being not the classroom and maybe not even books -- is the best teacher.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
We arrive in our hotel room. Don't worry, our son is still breathing.
Here we just left our hotel room and are waiting for the elevator on our way to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. We didn't know what to expect so our faces were like that the whole time on our way there.
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. The artifacts -- and there are hundreds -- are all authentic, none are replicas. Photography is allowed except when you actually get to the scrolls where guards will
Yes, you are reading that right -- these arrowheads are from 1000 to 586 BCE (or what used to be “BC” meaning “Before Christ”) so that makes them three thousand years old. These Babylonian arrowheads found at the site of David and Solomon's Israelite kingdom support biblical accounts of the Jews' captivity by the Babylonian empire.
Nearly 900 scrolls were found in caves near the Dead Sea, a lake that borders Israel and Jordan. Many of the scrolls were in pottery jars like this. Vi took this photo.
Typical Jewish settlement pottery and other food vessels during Old Testament times. Again, bear in mind that these are authentic, three thousand year old pieces -- not reproductions.
Jars from the 8th Century BCE (or roughly two thousand eight hundred years old) common in the Kingdom of Judah. Some are inscribed with the Hebrew letters that translated means
This multi-handled clay jar from the 1200-1000 BCE (which makes it *more than* three thousand years old!) even has decorations. Vi took this photo.
After eating from clay pots for millenia during ancient times, imagine if a neighbor comes by one evening and shows you his porcelain china. Your eyes will pop out, your jaws will drop, and you go into hyperventilation at the sight of such lavish ornamentation and shininess. Food must taste better when served on that thing as compared to your clay pots!

Such was indeed the case when Chinese porcelain arrived in Europe in the 14th Century. They were
People from ancient biblical times weren't dunces. They were quite capable of crafting very intricate art on metal like on the coin seen here. There was even a much smaller piece of jewelry -- like an earing  fashioned from thread-thin bronze wires I think -- that had highly elaborate craftsmanship and too small to take a good picture of at the exhibit.

So if you still have doubts about the stories of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, etc., and their encounters with God, after seeing the artifacts at the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, I'd say you can rest assured knowing that the ancient peoples of biblical times possessed intelligence not much different from yours and mine and that could easily tell myth from fact.
The Franklin Institute where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display.
We were supposed to find authentic Philly cheese steak for dinner but parking was next to impossible so we came back for lunch the following day instead. This was at Jim's Steaks on South Street.

The people outside the window are a continuation of the line we're in that snakes inside the restaurant. That's how good their Philly cheese steaks are.
Via and Vi look at the celebrity testimonials -- from Kobe Bryant to Billy Joel to Bruce Willis to Gabby Concepcion, Maricel Soriano, and Albert Martinez just kidding about the last three -- that fill the walls of the restaurant both first and second floors. 
We normally eat food with our mouths open so I asked my family to please close their mouths for a second while I took this picture. 
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