News & Events

The Great Isaiah Scroll

August 10, 2010

Penned more than 2,100 years ago, the Great Isaiah Scroll is one of only three complete scrolls from 900 documents that comprise the Dead Sea Scrolls. An exact replica of the Great Isaiah Scroll will be housed at Biola University this fall. The survival of this scroll is a celebrated story throughout the world — and now students and the Biola community will be able to celebrate it firsthand.

Owned by Legacy Church, Orange County, and on loan from the Museum of Biblical and Sacred Writings in Irvine, Calif., the facsimile sits 7,000 miles away from its original in the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. Bedouin shepherds discovered the scrolls in caves along rocky cliffs west of the Dead Sea in 1947 near what had been the ancient community of Qumran. The original scrolls have deteriorated significantly since their removal from the dry climate of the Dead Sea region. This facsimile, however, is recreated from prized photographs taken in 1948 to preserve these ancient works.

The facsimile of the Great Isaiah Scroll, to be housed in Calvary Chapel, is 23.5 feet in length, comprised of 17 panels or sheets of parchment sewn together.  Created by Facsimile Editions Ltd. of London, England, the Great Isaiah Scroll is noted for its exquisite appearance, capturing the essence of the original document not only in look, but in feel, from the detailed hand-stitching and staining to the evident wear and tear. 

The book of Isaiah is, of course, a central Messianic and prophetic text for both the Jewish and Christian faiths.  The Lord (Yahweh) spoke through the prophet Isaiah regarding the future hope for Israel, while condemning the evil deeds of the people and advocating for social justice and adherence to God’s laws. Isaiah foretold of one who would come to instate the year of the Lord’s favor and make all wrongs right.

A grand opening reception and special lecture is scheduled for the evening of Sept. 7, 2010, followed by evening lectures on Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14, given by prominent experts and Old Testament theologians. The lectures are open to faculty, students and the public. 

The Grand Opening Reception and Lecture will be held on Sept. 7, 2010, at 7 p.m., at Biola University, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, in Calvary Chapel. The lecture will be presented by George Giacumakis, Ph.D., California State University, Fullerton, adjunct professor of Biola University, and director of the Museum of Biblical & Sacred Writings, on the topic, “Why Such a Global Interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls?”

Cost is $15 (or $10 for Biola students only). All attendees will receive:  (a) copy of A Handbook to the Great Isaiah Scroll; (b) a copy (translation) of The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, translated from the Great Isaiah Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Holy Bible: International Standard Version.  Light refreshments will be served.
Seating is limited. There will be no on-site registration on the day of the event. Register online for the Grand Opening.

The exhibit will open Wednesday, Sept. 8, and run through Dec. 15 (weekends and Thanksgiving holiday excluded). The facsimile of the Great Isaiah Scroll will be available for open viewing at no cost in Biola University’s Calvary Chapel Monday through Thursday, on most dates.  Since there will be exceptions when other events are scheduled, please check the viewing schedule for available days and time. The exhibit will be closed Friday through Sunday.

Subsequent lectures will be free and open to the public on the following dates:

  • Oct. 12 – The Dead Sea Scrolls and Bible Translation. Jeffrey Volkmer, D.Phil. ABD, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Biola University.
  • Nov. 9 – Textual issues in the Great Isaiah Scroll. Thomas J. Finley, Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament and Semitics, Department Chair, Talbot School of Theology (Biola University).
  • Dec. 14 – The Suffering Servant in the Great Isaiah Scroll. Scott Moffatt, Senior Pastor, Legacy Church of Orange County, Irvine, Calif.; Adjunct Professor of History, Biola University and Fullerton College.

All lectures 7:00-8:30pm, in Calvary Chapel Auditorium, Biola University. With advance notice and prior arrangement, professor-supervised classes/students from educational institutions may make reservations for group visits to view the exhibit. Contact Dennis Gaines at for information. 

In the fall 2010 semester, Talbot School of Theology will offer HIST 470/TTOT 730, The Dead Sea Scrolls (3 units). This is a research and writing seminar focusing on the analysis of some of the 900 whole and partial texts and manuscripts discovered in the Dead Sea region of Israel. The official publication of the Scrolls, Discoveries in the Judean Desert (Oxford University Press), is complete. Virtually all the documents are now available in English translation. The full impact of recent technological advances such as radiocarbon dating, DNA analysis, imaging by direct digital acquisition, and the Internet is beginning to affect the study of the Scrolls. The chronological focus of the course will be during the Hellenistic and the Roman periods, from 4th century BC to 1st century AD.  The Scrolls are having an effect on biblical translations. The class will be taught by George Giacumakis, Ph.D. To audit the class, please e-mail Dr. Giacumakis at

Two sections of the class will be offered: one at the La Mirada campus on Wednesdays from 3 to 5:45 p.m. and the other at the Biola Orange County Education Center in Laguna Hills on Tuesdays from 6 to 8:45 p.m.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at .

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