As preparations continue in anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit for the World Meeting of Families, the Pennsylvania Convention Center readies itself for Verbum Domini II: God’s Word Goes Out to the Nations, an exhibition formerly on display at the Vatican in Rome.
Verbum Domini (which translates to “the word of the Lord”), refers to a communication from Pope XVI as to how the Catholic church approaches its scripture, the Bible.
For six days, September 21-26, visitors have the opportunity to see breathtaking biblical artifacts collected from around the globe from the Museum of the Bible, a center currently under construction in Washington D.C.
Of the 40,000 objects in the private collection, 80 pieces will be on display in Philadelphia, all of which carry great religious and historical significance.
Visitors will find the free exhibit in Hall G, transformed into eight galleries with 24 display cases housing the artifacts.
The heart of the exhibition features small sections from the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1946 and 1956 in a series of caves close to Jerusalem. The scrolls consist of 981 texts with major religious importance, of which more than 220 are Biblical texts.
Additionally, the display includes five pages of the Bodmer Psalms Codex, a near complete copy of the book of Psalms in Greek dating back between third and fourth century CE as well as the manuscripts known as the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, which multispectral imaging has revealed to contain parts of more than nine manuscripts.
For many, though, the highlight of the exhibit could be the first edition of the “He” King James Bible from 1611. This version distinguishes itself from a second printing of the same year, the “She” version, in Ruth 3:15. Reading the two verses, “and he went into the citie” versus “and she went into the citie” marks the distinction between the two, the pronoun used identifying which edition.
With only about 50 known “He” versions existing in the world, this is an unlikely chance to see a very rare and sacred text.
Note, too, that this rare view of ancient texts and artifacts is just one of many papal visit-related exhibitions at museums in Philadelphia.