A Date with Science and Religion: An Analysis of the Encoding & Decoding Practices at the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in Charlotte, North Carolina Academic Article uri icon


  • Museums are sites of contested meaning that bring together artifacts of the other with the sense-making practices of patrons. The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Charlotte, North Carolina exemplifies a similar struggle as patrons negotiate between appeals to the authority of science and appeals to the authority of the Bible. Our analysis demonstrates that religion-rather than class struggle-permeates the encoding and decoding practices there. This struggle is exacerbated in part because of the religious nature of the arti-facts on display; and also because when read as a text, the site's latent discourse reinforces the collective belief among many Evangelical Christians in the accuracy of the Bible. Furthermore, the exhibit's public relations campaign, its layout and design, and the predominantly Christian background of its guests coalesce to amplify a sense of the numinous. © 2012 Copyright National Communication Association.

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  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott, D. W., & Stout, D.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • March 2012