Bible Lands Museum
The Bible Lands Museum (Hebrew: מוזיאון ארצות המקרא ירושלים) is an archaeological museum in Jerusalem, Israel, that explores the culture of the peoples mentioned in the Bible, among them the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Arameans, Hittites, Elamites, Phoenicians and Persians.
The aim of the museum is to put the various peoples covered into historical context. The museum is located on Museum Row in Givat Ram, between the Israel Museum, The National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, and the Bloomfield Museum of Science.
The museum was founded by Elie Borowski in 1992 to house his personal collection. On a visit to Jerusalem in 1981, he met at a hotel, Batya Weiss, who encouraged him to bring his collection to Israel and establish a museum in keeping with his vision. She put him in contact with Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. Borowski heeded her advice, and built the Bible Lands Museum. The two eventually married.
The main gallery displays hundreds of artifacts: ancient documents, idols, coins, statues, weapons, pottery, and seals from across the ancient Near East. Many topics are elaborated upon in brief articles on the walls (e.g. the origins of the alphabet, embalming, and Abraham's journey). The museum also exhibits scale models of ancient sites in Jerusalem, a Ziggurat at Ur and the pyramids at Giza. While the museum's emphasis is the history of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the curators draw attention to relevant biblical verses. For example, above a gallery of ancient Anatolian jugs is the verse "Behold, Rebecca came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the fountain and drew water" (Genesis 24:45).
The main gallery consists of 20 numbered sections in chronological order:
- From Hunter to Urban Dweller
- The Coming of Civilizations
- Symbolic Communication
- Literate Voices, the Story of Writing
- The Pre-Patriarchal World
- The Sumerian Temple
- Old Kingdom of Egypt
- Genesis 14, the Age of Warfare
- The Age of the Patriarchs
- When Israel Sojourned in Egypt
- The Sea Peoples
- The Arrival of the Iranian Horsemen
- Stones of Aram
- Israel Among the Nations
- Assyria, the Rod of My Anger
- The Splendor of Persia
- Hellenistic Dominions
- Rome and Judaea
- Roman and Coptic Egypt
- Sassanian Mesopotamia – Home of the Babylonian Talmud
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