Green Collection

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The Green Collection is a compilation of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities planned to form the core of a permanent, national, non-sectarian Bible museum in Washington, D.C.[1][2] Assembled by the Green family, founders of national retail chain Hobby Lobby, The Green Collection is the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts.[3]

Green Collection
Genre Biblical manuscripts and related artifacts
Location(s) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Patron(s) Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby


The collection is named for the Green family, founders and leaders of Hobby Lobby, the world’s largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer. The collection was assembled beginning in November 2009 by its original director, ancient/medieval manuscript specialist Dr. Scott Carroll, in cooperation with Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and the collection's benefactor.[4][5]


The capstone of The Green Collection is the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, known as Uncial 0250 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering); which is a palimpsest whose underwiting includes pages from a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, as well as pages from a Christian Palestinian Aramaic uncial manuscript of the Old and New Testament. Paleographically the Greek section has been assigned to the 8th century (or 7th century), and the Christian Palestinian Aramaic section to the 6th century.

A John Wycliffe Bible in the Green Collection.

Other items in The Green Collection include:[6]

  • The second-largest private collection of Dead Sea Scrolls, all of which are unpublished
  • The world’s largest private collection of Jewish scrolls, including Torahs that survived the Spanish Inquisition, scrolls confiscated by the Nazis and recovered in concentration camps and others from across the globe
  • One of the world’s largest holdings of unpublished biblical and classical papyri, including texts that date back to the lost Library of Alexandria
  • Rare illuminated manuscripts and previously unknown biblical texts and commentaries
  • The earliest-known, near-complete translation of the Psalms in Middle English, including the Canticles and commentary predating Wycliffe’s translation
  • An undocumented copy of Wycliffe’s New Testament in Middle English
  • Some of the earliest printed texts, including a large portion of the Gutenberg Bible and the world’s only complete Block Bible in private hands
  • Early tracts and Bibles belonging to Martin Luther, including a little-known letter written the night before his excommunication
  • An undocumented fragment of the Tyndale New Testament, published while he awaited execution
  • Numerous items illustrating the contribution of Jews and Catholics to the King James translation of the Bible and other historical artifacts

Worldwide Exhibitions[edit]


Passages, a traveling exhibition featuring select items from The Green Collection that tell the story of the English Bible, was announced to a gathering of business, government, academic and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2011.[7] Passages made its worldwide debut at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in Oklahoma City—home to Hobby Lobby’s headquarters—in May 2011. The exhibit was eventually seen by more than 63,000 people in Oklahoma's capital city.[8][9]

Visitors to Passages interact with more than 400 rare biblical texts, artifacts and discoveries through multimedia and historical settings in an 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) exhibit designed to tell the story of how today's Bible came to be.[9][10][11]

"Passages" Exhibition Schedule[edit]

Additional locations to be announced

Verbum Domini Exhibit[edit]

Select items from Passages, The Green Collection and items on loan from other private collections around the world were displayed in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, for Lent and Easter 2012, highlighting the Jewish and Christian contributions to the formation and preservation of the Bible. American Bible Society and the Vatican Library supported this endeavor.[12][13]

Other Exhibits[edit]

Portions of Passages and The Green Collection have also been on display on various college and university campuses throughout its worldwide tour, including Baylor University for its conference on "The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011" in April 2011,[14][15] Liberty University in September 2011[16] and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in February 2012.[17] Items from The Green Collection appeared at a series of conferences in West Africa in September 2011.[18]

Green Scholars Initiative[edit]

A leaf from the Codex Climaci Rescriptus in the Green Collection.

Formed in the summer of 2010, the Green Scholar's Initiative provides university mentors and student scholars at participating institutions with research opportunities on the items from The Green Collection.[19][20]

Academics and textual experts participating in the Green Scholars Initiative include:[21]

Future museum[edit]

In 2012, Steve Green announced his family's intention to open a permanent institution—envisioned as a scholarly museum, not an evangelistic outreach ministry—within the next four years to house The Green Collection. The Greens identified Washington, D.C., Dallas, and New York City as finalists for the museum's location.[22]

In July 2012, The Green Collection announced the purchase of the building housing the Washington Design Center in D.C., for a reported $50 million, to house the as-yet-unnamed national Bible museum.[23][24][25][26] The building is located two blocks from the National Mall at 300 D. Street SW, near the Federal Center SW Metro station. The museum will reportedly charge admission, as do other private museums in Washington, such as the National Building Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the Newseum.[27]

As of July 2014, the proposed museum project had not been approved by the city of Washington. The Design Center is considered a historical landmark and an exemplar of the Renaissance Revival style of architecture.[28]

On October 23, 2013, a special exhibition drawn from the Green collection, Book of Books, opened at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. It will be in Jerusalem until May 24, 2014. It will then go on display at the Vatican in Rome, under the title Verbum Domini. It then will become part of the permanent exhibition in the new museum.[29]


  1. ^ Grossman, Cathy Lynn (April 4, 2011). "High-tech museum to take scholarly view of Bible". USA Today. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Niemi, Carol (December 6, 2011). "‘Passages’ features rarest Bible artifacts in six-month run here". USA Today. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  3. ^ LaMonica, Gabe (April 5, 2011). "Eyeing a national museum, a collector’s Bibles hits the road". CNN. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (June 11, 2010). "Craft Shop Family Buys Up Ancient Bibles for Museum". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bible Collection Goes on Tour". August 19, 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Green Collection boasts rare Bibles and more". USA Today. April 4, 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Large Bible collection is premiered". Christian Retailing. March 31, 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Lackmeyer, Steve (April 3, 2011). "Passages exhibit expected to bring thousands downtown". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Ruggieri, Melissa (December 8, 2011). "'Passages' seeks to biblically enlighten". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  10. ^ McDonnell, Brandy (April 3, 2011). ""Passages" designed to bring interactive, all-ages experience to OKC Museum of Art". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Wilson, Karen (September 22, 2012). "Exhibit's rare artifacts help tell story of the Bible". Independent Tribune. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Belz, Emily (April 1, 2011). "'Love of the book'". World Magazine. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Hinton, Carla (April 3, 2011). "OKC family’s exhibit’s collaboration with Vatican adds worldwide appeal". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  14. ^ LeBlanc, Matthew (April 6, 2011). "Rare, priceless Bibles on display at Baylor". KYTX-CBS19. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  15. ^ Mardirosian, Jade (April 7, 2011). "Exhibit celebrates 400 years of famous Bible text". The Baylor Lariat. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Rare, ancient manuscripts on display in Art Gallery". September 29, 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Traveling Exhibit of Biblical Manuscripts Coming to Gordon-Conwell". December 14, 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Samba, Augustine (September 20, 2011). "In Sierra Leone, Christians to Showcase 2000 Years Artefacts". Awareness Times. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Tunney, Kelly (March 28, 2011). "Students to publish ancient text through Green Scholars Initiative". Kent Wired. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  20. ^ Brinkman, Lillie-Beth (April 3, 2011). "New discoveries may await in study of Green Collection of ancient biblical texts". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  21. ^ "Scholars & Staff". Green Scholars Initiative. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (July 10, 2012). "Bible museum planned for Washington, D.C.". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (July 28, 2012). "Washington D.C.: Bible Museum Closes $50 Million Deal For Spot Near National Mall". Religion News Service. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Sernovitz, Daniel (July 20, 2012). "Museum makes a divine acquisition". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Joynt, Carol Ross (July 31, 2012). "The Museum of the Bible to Replace the Washington Design Center". Washingtonian. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  26. ^ Beermann, Judith (July 30, 2012). "Divine Decor to Divine Inspiration: WDC Becomes Bible Museum". The Georgetown Dish. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  27. ^ McKay, Dominique (September 19, 2012). "D.C. Bible Museum Near National Mall Will Charge Admission". Roll Call. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  28. ^ David Ferguson (July 17, 2014). "Hobby Lobby family: Our $800m D.C. Bible museum will save U.S. from ‘very scary’ future". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  29. ^ "‘Book of Books’ traces history of the Bible; An exhibit about Judaism and Christianity’s connection premieres at the Bible Lands Museum," Benji Rosen, Jerusalem Post, [1] [2]

External links[edit]