LUBAVITCH and South Manchester Synagogue are hosting the only public talk in the UK about the latest and most prominent Dead Sea Scrolls project to date.

The leading contributor to the project, Professor Lawrence Schiffman, will be discussing the ground-breaking studies and latest research about the Scrolls and will uncover the truth behind what they mean to both the Jewish and Christian faiths.

Professor Schiffman, who is also emeritus chairman of New York University’s Hebrew and Judaic Studies and is considered one of the world’s leading scholars on the Dead Sea Scrolls, is hosting the lecture, entitled ‘Judaism, Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls’, on January 15 at 8pm at the Synagogue in Bowdon.

A leading academic, who has been a visiting professor at Yale, Ben Gurion, John Hopkins Universities, among others; Dr Schiffman has published extensively about the Scrolls. He has appeared on television programmes, such as the documentary, ‘Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls’, as well as several other programmes created for the BBC. His expertise has stretched as far as serving as editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 2000.

The discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a remote Judean Desert cave in 1947 is widely considered the greatest archaeological event of the twentieth century. The fragile pieces of parchment and papyrus had been preserved for two thousand years by the hot, dry desert climate.

Fragments of every book of the Hebrew Bible (except the Book of Esther) were found in the desert caves. Remarkably, some of these ancient copies are identical to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible that is used today. The scrolls provide an unprecedented picture of the diverse religious beliefs of ancient Judaism, and of daily life during the turbulent Second Temple period when Jesus lived and preached.

The most well-known texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are the ancient religious writings found in eleven caves near the site of Qumran. Discoveries from additional sites yielded mostly documents and letters, especially papyri that had been hidden in caves by refugees from wars. While some of these writings survived as nearly intact scrolls, most of the archive consists of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments.

Rabbi Dovid from South Manchester said: "We are delighted to welcome Professor Schiffman to Manchester. This is a real honour to host someone of his prestige to our community and hope that members of the public and of any religion, will come and listen to what will be a highly educational and very enlightening talk. His level of expertise about the Dead Sea Scrolls project is of the highest in the world and we are very excited to host the UK's only public lecture while Professor Schiffman is touring the country."

To listen to Dr Schiffman discuss this historical project, call South Manchester Synagogue office for information on 0161 928 2050 or email Tickets are £7.50. Tickets will also available on the door.