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The Provenance Problem

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tags: Museum of the Bible



When visitors enter the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., they’ll pass between two 40-foot-tall bronze slabs stamped with verses from the first chapter of Genesis. It’s supposed to feel as if you’re walking into the Bible itself. Inside they’ll find six floors and 430,000 square feet dedicated to emphasizing the importance of the Bible’s role in history and its continued relevance in modern culture. There’s a 500-seat theater, a Scripture-themed flight simulator, an interactive children’s section, an imaginative recreation of Jesus’ hometown, a restaurant called "Manna," and a Bible-inspired garden complete with waterfall.

Not to mention biblical artifacts. Lots of them.

The museum is the passion project of Steve Green, the billionaire president of Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain store. In 2009, the Green family bought their first biblical manuscript (an English translation of Psalms dating to around 1400), and in the years that followed Green and his emissaries traveled throughout the Middle East and spent millions acquiring artifacts, including Torah scrolls and fragments of New Testament papyri, building a massive private collection estimated at some 40,000 items, most of which are stored in a warehouse in Oklahoma City, where Hobby Lobby is based.

Read entire article at The Chronicle of Higher Education


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