By Annie Vance
The greatly anticipated Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in conjunction with the 2002 Olympics events will no longer take place.
Although the exhibition was never formally announced, BYU and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee were working together for months in preparation for the arrival of the scrolls. Due to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, they have decided not to proceed with the exhibition.
“The decision was based on challenges and logistics of staging and managing the event,” said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.
“Since the events of Sept. 11, there has been uncertainty surrounding sharply escalating insurance costs. There is also the issue of the challenges in transporting these priceless artifacts,” Jenkins said.
The scrolls have only left Israel three times since 1947 when they were discovered. In Sydney, Australia they were part of the Olympic cultural festival during the 2000 Summer Games. Whenever they leave Israel, extreme security measures are taken to ensure the safety of the scrolls.
“It would have been a great addition to the Salt Lake Olympics Art Festival,” said Nancy Volmer, SLOC senior communications manager. “But we have many other terrific programs already planned so we will move forward with the other exhibitions and performances.”
Daniel Oswald, executive director of the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, said the news was disappointing.
“Sometimes expectations aren”t met. Nothing is final until it”s final,” Oswald said.
Although the display will not come to Utah for the Olympic events, BYU officials hope it will come at a later date.
“The time and resources will not be wasted. We will be better prepared for when we can host the exhibition at a later date,” Jenkins said.