Ten Commandments Scroll at Discovery Times Square

Photograph: Courtesy Israeli Antiquities Authority

If Santa's arrival isn't enough to inspire your best behavior, perhaps another imminent visit to NYC might get you thinking twice about morals. On Friday, December 16, a more-than-2,000-year-old copy of the Ten Commandments will go on view as part of Discovery Times Square's current "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibition.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says cocurator Risa Kohn, a professor at San Diego State University. "The scroll contains the entire text of the Ten Commandments, which resonate in so many religions."

Of the 900 pieces of parchment containing pre--Christian Era Hebrew scripture known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls, only two are of the Ten Commandments; and the other example is just a fragment of the text. The one on display, dated to 50 B.C., contains all the same tenets we're familiar with today, "pretty much verbatim," Kohn says. Though it's complete, the artifact is so delicate that it can be displayed for only two weeks, even in low-light, climate-controlled conditions.

The scroll will be shown, among ten other examples that are on loan from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, through the end of the exhibit on April 15.

"Dead Sea Scrolls," Discovery Times Square, 226 W 44th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (866-987-9692, discoverytsx.com). Daily 10am--8pm; $25, seniors $23.50, children 4--12 $19.50, children under 4 free. Dec 16--Jan 2.