Wednesday, July 20, 2005

IS THE ISRAEL MUSEUM NEGLECTING THE BIBLE? Suzanne F. Singer of Biblical Archaeology Review expresses some concerns in the Jerusalem Post ("Dont sell the Bible short"):
Here's what worries me. Museum deputy director, Dor Lin, says in the supplement that next year changes will occur in the archaeology exhibits. "Every artifact will be a piece in the archaeological puzzle that influenced man." My concern is that in the service of what is perceived as greater universalism, meant to entice people for whom the Bible is not important, the Israel Museum is embarking in a direction that is neither good for attracting more visitors nor fulfilling its potential as the only national museum prepared to tell the story of the Jewish people in its land.

Focusing strictly on marketing, it's a mistake to conclude that secular people from all over the world who come to the museum will not be fascinated to discover that places and events in the Bible can be linked, even if with uncertainties, to sites and artifacts in Israel. And needless to add, the many Christian visitors as well as Jews who already care about their Bibles – both Hebrew Bible and New Testament – will be eager to discover connections they can see in the land.

I don't have any particular view about what the Museum is doing, but I agree that it is a mistake to assume that secular people aren't interested in biblical subjects. No matter where I go or whom I talk with, when I mention that I work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, people are always interested.

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