A Millennium-Old Hebrew Bible on Display

Area residents help bring thousand-year-old Washington Pentateuch to museum.

The Washington Pentateuch, an ancient Hebrew Bible, was revealed for the first time in a thousand years to the public in “A Fence around the Torah” special exhibit at the Museum of the Bible earlier this month. An Arlington resident, Jeff Kloha, who is chief curatorial officer at the Museum of the Bible, headed the team.

The Washington Pentateuch, dating back to the 10th or 11th century, contains the first five books of the Jewish Torah. The leather-bound artifact is the only intact Hebrew Bible manuscript on public display in the U.S. and features the Masoretic Text, which is “the authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish and Western Christian tradition, said Herschel Hepler, a curator at the museum.

“This artifact is a window into an era, a millennium ago, that serves as a basis for how we understand and still talk about the Bible today. Everyone who has the opportunity to come and see this exhibit will witness a significant thread in the Bible’s history; one that has endured for more than a thousand years,” said Kloha.

The Arlington resident has been instrumental in leading the exhibition teams and curators in analysis, planning the exhibit, and development programs at the museum. “We have a talented and amazing team at the Museum of the Bible, many of whom live in northern Virginia,” said Kloha. Another team member, Allison Mullins, is a Springfield native who works as an education program developer at the museum.

Future plans for the museum include continued sponsorship with the Washington Theological Consortium, which the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria takes part in. Kloha and his team are already planning events for the spring. “We hope that this important artifact will provide another reason for people to come to visit the DMV and see the amazing history and culture that is unique to the area,” said Kloha..

For more information on “The Fence around the Torah” special exhibit on display through Nov. 25, 2020, please visit www.museumofthebible.org.

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