Friday, May 06, 2016

The Biblical Museum of Natural History

ZOOLOGY: Getting up close and personal with animals from the Bible (antonio marquez, israel21c/
Natan Slifkin wants people to know that animals they might typically see in the zoo once roamed the land of Israel.

He does this through the Biblical Museum of Natural History outside Jerusalem. Slifkin, who is the founder and director of the museum, opened this interactive “edutainment” initiative — part museum, part zoo — to inspire others about the animal kingdom from biblical times.

“It’s a completely unique experience where visitors see a perspective of the Bible and Israel they’ve not thought about before. Usually the Bible is thought about in relation to rituals and not how it relates to hyenas, chameleons and crocodiles,” says Slifkin, whose Ph.D. dissertation focused on rabbinic encounters with zoology. “Here, you get to interact with exotic animals from the Bible.”

In 2014, the Biblical Museum of Natural History opened its doors in a temporary rental location in a warehouse in the northern industrial zone of the city of Beit Shemesh, approximately 18 miles west of Jerusalem. In its first year, the museum counted 10,000 visitors.

Somehow I missed the opening of the museum, but I have noted work by Dr Slifkin here and here.