The Museum of the Bible and the Washington Pentateuch

Museum of the BibleIn December 2017, the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, the largest gathering of Jewish scholars in the world, took place in downtown Washington. There were panels on medieval Jewish philosophy, Russian refugees and migrants, and divorce. But none generated quite the amount of heat as the one about the Museum of the Bible, which had opened a month earlier, just south of the Mall.

Many prominent Jewish scholars had criticized the museum for what they called a “supersessionist” approach, wherein Christianity supplants Judaism. And there were the problems with some of its artifacts. Four months before the museum opened, federal prosecutors announced a settlement with the big-box craft chain Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical owners, the Green family, set up the museum. The Greens had amassed one of the world’s largest Bible collections, which forms the basis of many of the displays inside the $500 million, 430,000-square-foot museum. But some 5,500 artifacts that were bought for the Green Collection had been looted from Iraq, prosecutors said, and Hobby Lobby, which owns the Green Collection and loans the items to the museum, agreed to return the illegally acquired objects and to pay a $3 million fine.

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Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Forgery and the Dead Sea ScrollsOnline lecture, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 9:00 PM EDT
Old Leather, New Ink:  Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls
with Professor Lawrence Schiffman