Museum of the Bible

When it just doesn't fit anywhere else.
Z_DC
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby Z_DC » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:12 pm

Bootstrap wrote:
Z_DC wrote:
Joy wrote:A patient at a nursing home this morning asked me if I knew there was a museum of the Bible. I'd heard of it, and that's all. But she said she'd heard that Jesus' Name isn't found that much in it. Anybody heard the same?

I haven't toured the New Testament section, yet, but am planning to do that this weekend. From what I've read, the Museum was reluctant to include too much of a visual portrayal of Jesus in order to avoid making a statement about what He looked like. I guess this would be out of a sense of respect.


Did you go there this weekend? I'd be interested in hearing your impressions.


The floor of the Museum that relates to the content of the Bible features 3 sections. The Hebrew Bible section is a 45-minute walk-through of a multi-media series of presentations. The New Testament section features a 12-minute animated (not as cartoonish as it sounds) film illustrating Biblical history from the perspective of John (moving from "in the beginning was the Word" to his exile in Patmos). The crucifixion and resurrection are presented without having a frontal view of Jesus in order to avoid presenting an image of Him. I thought it was respectfully done. The third section is a recreation of 1st Nazareth similar to what you might see if you visited Nazareth Village in Israel that was designed by Mennonites. The recreation at the Museum of the Bible features costumed interpreters talking about farming, construction, family meals, etc. as if they lived in 1st century Nazareth. The interpreter in the synagogue gives a lengthy discussion of Jesus' ministry in the synagogue when He read from the book of Isaiah and was nearly thrown over a cliff. So, I didn't feel there was an attempt to avoid the subject of Jesus in these two sections.
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PeterG
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby PeterG » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:14 am

Z_DC wrote:
PeterG wrote:
ken_sylvania wrote:Mr. Haber seems to have found exactly what he was looking for....

I was thinking almost those exact words.

But a couple of Mr. Haber's observations struck me as significant in ways that probably didn't occur to him.

Dominating “Bible in America” is a bizarre series of murals [...] We see a disembodied, presumably divine hand with a quill pen poised above Article VI of the Constitution.
Assuming that this description gives an accurate impression of the mural, I find it extraordinary that a museum dedicated to the word of God would contain anything suggesting that the United States Constitution shares divine inspiration with the Bible. If this was unintentional, it is a horrible blunder. If intentional, it is heretical and offensive.

The Museum of the Bible is telling us unbaptized that, whether it’s American or Israel or “Nazareth,” it’s their world, and we just live in it.
This is, of course, the exact opposite of the New Testament's teaching about the place of God's people in this world. While I don't know the degree to which this thinking is truly reflected in the Museum of the Bible, I'm afraid that Mr. Haber's sense of the American Christian attitude is accurate, and it's unfortunate that the museum did not leave him with a different understanding.


The section on "The Bible in America" features an enormous Belgian-made tapestry featuring people ranging from George Whitefield to Frederick Douglass to Billy Graham. The tapestry itself then lights up with quotes from various individuals in U.S. history talking about the Bible. Near the mural is an extensive series of display cases that emphasize competing perspectives on the Bible. The books arranged in the cases illustrate debates between prominent individuals. The Museum does not offer commentary on the books, but simply presents the opinions. For example, if one book argues for separation of church and state, the next might argue in favor of church authority in political government. In another case, a book might argue for the Bible being used as the core curriculum in a public school system and another book will argue against a Bible-based curriculum. Bibles given by slave masters to slaves with the book of Exodus missing are presented alongside newspapers published by William Lloyd Garrison advocating abolition on Biblical principles. To the extent there is an argument being made by the Museum of the Bible, it seems to be simply that early founders in the U.S. (Deists, Christians, Jewish, or other) used the Bible in making their arguments. For example, one placard points out that Benjamin Franklin did not claim to be a Christian, but he wielded Scriptural quotes to further his political arguments.

Thank you for sharing this context. That sounds like a good exhibit.
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Bootstrap
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:29 am

Z_DC wrote:
Bootstrap wrote:I'm somewhat serious about the idea of a field trip. I think it would be interesting for a group to go there with an open mind and a list of questions. We could see how much we think it matches our own understanding of the Bible and its relationship to the Kingdom and the nation we live in. It would probably make the most sense if we left plenty of time to discuss it afterward.

Saturdays are going fast. Any availability on a weekday the week before Christmas?


For me, it would have to be after Christmas.
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CADude
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby CADude » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:06 am

At the moment, the first Saturday for which tickets are available to be reserved is in February. I think every day between Christmas and New Years is also booked.
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Z_DC
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby Z_DC » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:12 pm

PeterG wrote:
ken_sylvania wrote:Mr. Haber seems to have found exactly what he was looking for....

I was thinking almost those exact words.

But a couple of Mr. Haber's observations struck me as significant in ways that probably didn't occur to him.

Dominating “Bible in America” is a bizarre series of murals [...] We see a disembodied, presumably divine hand with a quill pen poised above Article VI of the Constitution.
Assuming that this description gives an accurate impression of the mural, I find it extraordinary that a museum dedicated to the word of God would contain anything suggesting that the United States Constitution shares divine inspiration with the Bible. If this was unintentional, it is a horrible blunder. If intentional, it is heretical and offensive.

The Museum of the Bible is telling us unbaptized that, whether it’s American or Israel or “Nazareth,” it’s their world, and we just live in it.
This is, of course, the exact opposite of the New Testament's teaching about the place of God's people in this world. While I don't know the degree to which this thinking is truly reflected in the Museum of the Bible, I'm afraid that Mr. Haber's sense of the American Christian attitude is accurate, and it's unfortunate that the museum did not leave him with a different understanding.


I visited the exhibit "Bible in America" again today to see the tapestry with the disembodied hand. There is a disembodied arm, but it is covered in what looks like a garment you might see someone wearing in Colonial Williamsburg. It does not appear to be divine garb. The hand is writing Article VI of the Constitution and then a light appears to highlight the following clause: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." So, if anything, it would seem that the Museum is highlighting the Constitutional idea of separation of church and state.
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PeterG
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby PeterG » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:12 am

Z_DC wrote:I visited the exhibit "Bible in America" again today to see the tapestry with the disembodied hand. There is a disembodied arm, but it is covered in what looks like a garment you might see someone wearing in Colonial Williamsburg. It does not appear to be divine garb. The hand is writing Article VI of the Constitution and then a light appears to highlight the following clause: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." So, if anything, it would seem that the Museum is highlighting the Constitutional idea of separation of church and state.

Again, thank you for this clarification. There was indeed a great deal of presumption in Mr. Haber's description of the hand as "presumably divine."
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Jazman
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby Jazman » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:47 am

As an Anabaptist, I'm not sure I can be so gung-ho for this shrine/high place... (where in the OT or NT is it commanded or suggested we spend millions erecting a building to objectify our faith/Scripture?)
Here's an blog post of quotes from a new article about this "museum" with some content that should be troubling to Christians of an Anabaptist perspective...
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What happens when the liturgies from the days of the Moral Majority train evangelicals to love America as much as Jesus, which then leads to an incessant longing within churches to “make America great again!”? - Rev. Robert Cunningham

Josh
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby Josh » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:08 am

Jazman wrote:As an Anabaptist, I'm not sure I can be so gung-ho for this shrine/high place... (where in the OT or NT is it commanded or suggested we spend millions erecting a building to objectify our faith/Scripture?)
Here's an blog post of quotes from a new article about this "museum" with some content that should be troubling to Christians of an Anabaptist perspective...


Seems no different from going to the Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum, or the Ark Encounter. I don’t see how remaining in ignorance is strength.

Of course, any museum or museum-like theme park will have a bias we should be aware of. But the Museum of the Bible has fairly objective scholarly input and accountability, even if the founder has un-scholarly goals.
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mike
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby mike » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:59 pm

I'm hoping to visit with my family in a couple of days. I'll try to remember to post some impressions.
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Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. -Heb. 13:3

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mike
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Re: Museum of the Bible

Postby mike » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:57 am

We visited the museum yesterday. I don't have time for a long review, but here are a few quick impressions. It is miles ahead of all the other museums in DC that we visited over a couple of days in terms of technology and the artistic presentation of anything from ancient artifacts to modern data. The Smithsonians are positively dingy in comparison. Tickets are free, and there is a suggested donation but no pressure to pay unless you desire to donate.

Naturally there is plenty for an Anabaptist to disagree with. The museum is guarded by armed police. We declined the $8/person simulator ride that flies you around DC to view all the references to the Bible on public buildings and monuments. The theological spectrum presented is rather broad. There was mention of both Catholics and Protestants executing dissidents in a martyrdom exhibit. When I was looking through my photos, I noticed a reference to Anabaptists that I missed when I was looking at the exhibit itself. That reference is in one of the photos in the album linked below. See if you can find it. :)

As far as it being a "safe space" for nationalist Christians, the God and Country narrative was certainly there in one or two of the exhibits, but it was presented primarily as a factual display of quotes and objects such as Bibles of the Presidents. I didn't find it to be an overbearing emphasis. Biblical references in our society's history and culture are undeniable.

The combination of ancient artifacts with modern audiovisual technology was striking. There were live demonstrations and interpretations in some areas as you can see in the videos in the album linked below. The demonstration of the Gutenberg printing press replica was great. The recreated Palestinian village of the time of Jesus was quite good.

We spent 3-4 hours there, but could have spent an entire day or more. We had our five oldest children, ages 9-15. High school age students who are even remotely interested in history or the Bible could easily spend the day there. I would highly recommend the museum. Children who are old enough to catch the nuances of worldview that are objectionable to Anabaptism could benefit from conversations afterward about such things.

The bottom line is that I would highly recommend the museum, and although there will be some emphasis or lack of emphasis that we as Anabaptists find disagreeable, it is on the whole a very worthwhile experience.

I took more photos, and some videos, than I would have otherwise so that I can post them here, to give you a good idea of what the museum is like. Enjoy by clicking on the link below.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/wjO2HSKj1P4oYFnV2
Last edited by mike on Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. -Heb. 13:3


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