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A Catholic tours the Museum of the Bible

On November 17, to much fanfare and both praise and criticism, the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) opened a short walk away from the Smithsonian museums and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Housed inside a converted 1923 warehouse, the 420,000 square foot building features six floors of exhibits whose purpose, say officials, isn’t to overtly evangelize.

Rather, says Cary Summers, president of Museum of the Bible, the goal is “to invite all people to engage with the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible.” Officials say they hope this will prompt people to open up God’s word.

Whether or not this will happen, only the Holy Spirit knows. What is certain, however, is that the Museum’s planners and patrons—starting with Hobby Lobby President Steve Green—have gone to extraordinary measures to ensure that their purpose is fulfilled.

Furthermore, PBS quoted Summers as saying the Bible is “the most controversial topic in the world. It’s the biggest-selling book; most banned, destroyed, influential book … We will irritate everybody.”

Even before entering the premises, visitors are confronted with a hint of what awaits them inside. This hint takes the form of two towering bronze faux doors representing pages from the Guttenberg Bible, which started the publishing revolution over 500 years ago.

Much attention has been given to the suspect provenance of some of the museum’s displays. As PBS reported, federal investigators discovered “Hobby Lobby had illegally imported thousands of ancient biblical artifacts, accusations that put more heat on the museum, but which the company chalked up to naiveté.”

For anyone willing to pay attention while touring the exhibits, however, signs indicate whether something is a facsimile of an artifact or if there is a question as to its provenance.

 

Read more at Catholic World Report. 

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