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April 5th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Eyeing a national museum, a collector’s Bibles hits the road

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Steve Green owns a lot of Bibles, and he’s starting to show them off.

The president of Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, Green bought his first biblical artifact less than a year and a half ago. But his is already considered one of the world’s largest private collection of biblical texts and artifacts, and Green is taking it on tour in advance of opening what he says will be a national Bible museum.

The tour kicked off last week with a party at the Vatican embassy in Washington that highlighting samples from a 14,000 square foot traveling exhibition, which is called “Passages.” It’s a prelude to the high-tech Bible museum Green wants to open in the next five or so years.

“The Bible has had a huge impact on societies - politics, the arts, science, music, literature,” says Green, who is Christian. “The impact of the book is a story that we feel needs to be told and that is what we are interested in doing - and encouraging people to consider what it has to say.”

“We believe it is the most incredible book that’s ever been written,” he says. “It is a book that has been ridiculed and vilified and yet loved.”

Passages will appear at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art from May to October before moving to St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The exhibit will arrive in New York City sometime this winter.

Green says he’s unsure of the location for his eventual museum but that he wants it to rely heavily on digitized Bibles, so that visitors and scholars can interact with them.

Some items from the Green Collection are now on exhibition at museums and specialty libraries in the United States and Europe.

The collection’s 30,000 biblical antiquities emphasize Jewish, Catholic and Protestant contributions to the book.

“The Bible didn’t come from Mount Sinai to Moses and end up in a Red Roof Inn desk drawer,” says Scott Carol, director of the collection.

“There was a process and Passages tells the dramatic story of that process,” says Carol, a former college professor specializing in biblical manuscripts.

From cuneiform tablets dating back thousands of years to parts of the Dead Sea scrolls to brilliantly illuminated psalmodies (collections of psalms), Green’s collection encompasses Bibles and books that helped influence the Bible’s formation.

The collection includes one of the largest repositories of cuneiform tablets. The clay tablets, named for the wedge-shaped script in which they were written, are important tools for translating ancient biblical writings.

The collection also includes a large portion of a Gutenberg Bible, which provoked the 15th century revolution in printing, and a King James Bible, an influential English translation that’s marking its 400th anniversary this year.

Then there’s the so-called Wicked Bible from the 17th century, so named because it accidentally omits the word “not” in the commandment “Thou shall not commit adultery.”

The collection’s gem is the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, one of the world’s earliest surviving Bibles, thought to be from sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries.

Written in Palestinian Aramaic, the language used in Jesus’ home, the collection worked with Britain’s University of Oxford to develop a technology that uncovered the earliest known New Testament, also from between the 6th and 8th centuries, from a layer in codex.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • DC • Faith Now • United States

soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. truth

    read the story of Joshua Evans the youth minister & you may learn something

    April 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  2. Casual Observer

    weren't JC and the 12 lads Jews?

    April 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  3. prophet

    The Jewish people are chosen for Elohims Purpose and without them we would not of known that Elohim Exists. This is very Important to know.

    This happened so that Humanity can have a choice, they always did but didn't know it.

    April 10, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Joey

      Actually, we would have known God exists if the Jews did not exist because the God of Abraham is the God of Judaism and Islam. The bloodline was split and one line of descendants became the Jews, and the other bloodline became the Muslims when the Prophet Muhammad came in the 7th century.

      The Jews did however provide the history and the Law of the Old Testament, so we can thank them for that.

      April 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  4. Joey

    Of course none of us have video evidence of this happening, but let's be honest. There are so many things in this world that justify the existence of God. As a science major, it has been made very evident to me that the very fabric of nature could not exist just by chance. The complicated mechanisms of DNA replication, etc. even the molecules that make up everything we know as nature cannot be justified by science. By this, I mean even the nucleus of elements that make up the universe should not be able to stay together, as protons are positive and neutrons are not charged making them non-attractive to eachother.

    Ultimately, religion is flawed because Man is flawed. No religion is perfect because no human on Earth is perfect. The best thing Christians can do is take the stories handed down by previous Christians, even those who some claim to be "half-truths." Regardless of what you believe, the majority of the world believes that Jesus Christ is the savior. Whether or not you believe the resurrection actually happened is completely irrelevant. It is necessary for salvation...
    but let's say it didn't happen- Jesus was still on Earth and tempted just as we are tempted. He resisted the temptation, and was given to humanity as the perfect example of what we can be. A person that goes through trials and wins victory over sin, just as we can, because of his connection to God. Now we have that connection to God, which is the greatest gift.

    April 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Irisrose

      @ Joey

      Let's say for one second that you're right and there are many things in the fabric of nature that could not exist by just chance. How on earth does it follow that Jesus Christ is the God to fill gap? Why not some other god? Christianity accounts for about 35% of the believers of the world. Do you think the other 65% is wrong in their choice of gods?

      So, taking hand-me-down Christian stories is good enough for you? They don't have to be true, but you better believe in the resurrection if you want to be saved? Wow, just wow. Christians speak with such certainty about their God and Jesus unless they are uncertain, then God's plan is too mysterious for for his creation to understand. Jesus of the bible may not have even existed. What sin exactly is the sin that he won victory over?

      April 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  5. Xcntrik

    HeavenSent -
    "I will be smiling when you burn.
    Amen."

    The Wacky World of Christianity. A religion of hatred, disguised as a religion of love.

    Reality-
    Great resources.

    Ehrman's new book, "Forged" is kickin' !

    April 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Joey

      Not all Christians feel this way. Some people just can't handle a philosophical or religious debate.

      April 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You two are writing to the phony heavensent who loves to stir up chaos.

      If you want to continue bashing Jesus spiritual truth because of what carnal thinking of man has done behind His name, don't waste my time. If you know the difference, then debate me all you want.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      ... because I am a Master Debater – and a Cunning Linguist.

      Amen.

      April 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  6. Reality

    Some references used for the Apostles Creed update:

    1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"

    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."

    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

    6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria

    7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html

    8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
    joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm

    9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

    10. The Gnostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
    by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm

    11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2

    12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database

    13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
    faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

    14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
    mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

    15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
    mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

    16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/

    17. Diseases in the Bible:
    etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
    18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, ethics, etc.
    religion-online.org/
    19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
    mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
    21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
    ntgateway.com/
    22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
    members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
    23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
    24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
    25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
    faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
    26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
    27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
    infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    29. NT and beyond time line:
    pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
    30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
    31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
    33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

    April 7, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • TomD

      Someone has gone to a very large extent to shout loud enough to drown out their guilty conscience! Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth! Because the Truth is not something but rather Someone! And He would die for you all over again! Even if you were the only one!

      April 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • lisa shafer

      Why, if you don't believe, have you gone to this tremendous time-sucking effort to prove it? I guess to whom are you proving this and why? Amazing effort though.

      April 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  7. Reality

    The bible – one of the great con jobs of all time;------

    To wit:

    Jesus was a bit "touched". According to the "book", he spoke to Satan, changed water into wine, raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction?

    Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of the "book", are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

    See also:

    : http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    The New Torah For Modern Minds And "Con-Free"!!

    April 6, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Lycidas

      Don't you ever get tired of copy/pasting your non-wisdom reality?

      April 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Reality

      Summarizing added bible history:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      April 7, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Lycidas

      Thank you for more of your copy/paste blabber. Oh and your, "updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years" is of course biased garbage because you don't know what you are even yammering about.

      April 7, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Jesusfreakazoid

      Heaven Sent,

      Spoken like a true Christian. I mean that in all seriousness.

      April 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent, the real HeavenSent doesn't want anyone to burn, never mind smile or find anything amusing about it.

      You are stuck in carnal mode and have no clue what spiritual thing/believing, actions are all about. You are so sad and haven't a clue to what that means.

      Amen.

      April 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, and I can't wait to gnaw on your rotting flesh as you all burn in a lake of fire for your inequities.

      Amen.

      April 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Did I mention I would be masturbating as well?

      April 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  8. Dorianmode

    The museum could be a good thing. Any exposition that highlights and explains the long very human process in which these texts evolved can only be a good thing.
    Anyone read Bart Ehrman's books ? Very enlightening, by a well respected scholar.

    April 6, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Exactly. Check out :
      http://freethought.mbdjodo.com/canon.html
      It was a very long convoluted process, open to flaw and uncertainty.

      April 6, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Logan

      April 15, 2011 at 4:03 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.