Nearly 200 rare biblical texts on parchment and vellum are among the artifacts that will be on display at the Vatican in a new exhibition.
The event, which will be called ”Verbum Domini II: God’s Word Goes Out to the Nations”, will run from April 2 to June 22.
Along with three fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls and an original copy of the King James Bible, printed in 1611, visitors to the free exhibition will see the microchip Bible that traveled to the moon and back on Apollo 14 in 1971.
The Vatican Library is also putting on view, for the first time, an original folio from the Bodmer Papyri. Dating from around the year 200, the folio contains the gospels of Luke and John. The library keeps this and other rare and fragile parchments in a specially built underground bunker maintained at very low humidity.
Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholics were not generally encouraged to study the Bible. Catholic Bible studies flourished for a time after Vatican II, but their popularity has waned in Western countries. According to Jesuit Father Jose Maria Abrego de Lacy, rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, 70 percent of Catholic Bible students today are in Africa and Asia.