Thursday, January 25, 2018

AJR on AJS on the Museum of the Bible

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Museum of the Bible as Mediator of Judaism
The Museum of the Bible as Mediator of Judaism
(Jill Hicks-Keeton).
In November 2017, the privately-funded, $500-million Museum of the Bible (MOTB) opened its doors to the public. Situated just blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the MOTB is poised to wield unparalleled influence on the national and popular imagination of the Bible. Despite its connection to evangelical Christian funding, the MOTB officially eschews ties to any religious tradition. Yet, because of the nature of its subject matter, the museum cannot help but present a selective account of both Judaism and Christianity. In December 2017 at the annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies in Washington, D.C. a panel of scholars applied a critical analytical lens to the MOTB as a site of power and politics. The papers interrogated the MOTB and its discursive projects from the combined perspectives of critical biblical scholarship and museum studies with a view to articulating the assumptions guiding the MOTB’s construction of Judaica, the Jewish Bible, and the land of Israel.

This panel sparked further discussion among scholars and the broader public, such as in a Washington Post article. In collaboration with AJR, scholars from this panel will be sharing their work with the larger scholarly community and the public.

The first paper was published in AJR yesterday:

The Museum of Whose Bible? On the Perils of Turning Theology into History (Jill Hicks-Keeton)
"While making pretenses to neutrality, the Museum of the Bible is fundamentally a political project attempting to define what the Bible is and who owns it."
For past PaleoJudaica posts on the Museum of the Bible and related matters, start here and follow the many links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.