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Bible, Museum of the Bible, Teaching, The Green Collection, Uncategorized, Work

More Than a Museum: Research

October 6, 2015

Logos Group with Greens square

“What is the best use of our growing collection?” – This was a question for the Green Collection leadership five years ago when we were just a few months into collecting artifacts. More specifically, we were asking, “If we were to begin programs around it, what would be among those with the most significance?”

In my previous post “More than a Museum,” I gave a high-level view of the Museum of the Bible and our four main initiatives. Here, I want to share a more in-depth look at one of those: our research initiatives.

Perhaps these seem like simple questions we were asking with a significant collection already in place when it was just a few thousand items, long before the current count of 40,000 plus items related to the biblical text and its transmission. During this early stage in forming the Green Collection, we realized that our answers could possibly impact lives in the future. When there were only four of us—another curator, two scholars, and me—a dream began to form:

“We could have an important role in helping to train the next generation of biblical text scholars.”

Although we didn’t know this collection’s future, and certainly didn’t fully anticipate the explosive years ahead developing into plans for the Washington, DC, site for the museum, we had glimpses of major things ahead. Throughout those early months, we had the conviction that scholarly research would be an important part of our programs, and the fulcrum of all that was ahead.

This is when conversations about a program called the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI) began. Dr. Jerry Pattengale developed and eventually executed this new research program. Its central idea remains in place: assigning various collection pieces to scholars (all with terminal degrees) and their students for high-level research. A team of over twenty senior and distinguished scholars came to this initiative, and provided assistance in their areas of expertise. These scholars also were the core lecturers among more than 100 videotaped presentations in various cities, with some at the Vatican, Israeli museums, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and in Cuba.

Establishing GSI has been an amazing and fast-paced journey, with the program starting only five years ago with just an idea and a few scholars. Today GSI is a robust network of over 60 scholars and dozens of projects. We have also successfully completed four summer institute conferences, and are looking to expand the program next summer. Publications are in process, students are being mentored, and GSI scholarship opportunities are being highlighted on many participating university campuses. We’ve also made some major discoveries, including the earliest Jewish proto-prayer book and some of the earliest astronomical sketches and texts, and a few of the earliest attestations to biblical passages and classical texts. The GSI program provides a substantial foundation for many of the things we do at Museum of the Bible. For this reason, we will have a research hub in the new DC facility called the Green Scholars Institute.

Of the many projects we have going on in GSI, my favorite is the work on the Codex Climaci Rescriptus (CCR). This is not only a fascinating piece, but I got to be involved (in a small way!) with part of the project early on. CCR is a palimpsest, and I got to take part in imaging the manuscript with multispectral imaging (MSI) a few years ago before the research got underway. In studying this manuscript, one of the incredible discoveries so far has been the identification of some early astronomical drawings. With greater access to the underlying layers of text through MSI, scholars found 1,500-year-old drawings of constellations on this manuscript. Ongoing research is being done on the CCR text at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

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The Bible touches millions of people in different ways, and the vast majority of people are not Bible scholars. Against this backdrop, someone might ask, “Why does research matter?” or “Why should Museum of the Bible make scholarship one of its top priorities?” If you don’t consider yourself a scholar, or haven’t spent much or any of your life and money working toward a master’s degree or PhD, you may question why research is such an important part of Museum of the Bible. In an effort to connect the thoughts of the scholars to the public, I conducted an office survey.

I daily rub shoulders with a host of scholars from a wide variety of fields among the staff at our home base in OKC, which has grown to nearly seventy. In addition, we regularly host research teams and visiting scholars. With such access to these brilliant minds, I figured I would informally inquire about their views on biblical research and scholarship. With the help of  our Director of the Green Collection, Dr. David Trobisch, and his efficient summary of the points I found in my survey, here are the common responses.

Three things: Scholars are blind, scholars learn through comparison, and scholars create consensus by communicating with each other.

 

  1. Scholars are blind. We cannot experience past events directly, we have to do so indirectly. Even when we examine evidence, we cannot always see the significance. For example, we don’t understand ancient calendars and ancient currency the way we understand our own. We are like blind men and women stumbling through a forest.
  2. Scholars learn by comparing the unknown with the known. Because we cannot find answers to our questions by looking directly at our object of interest, we compare the new evidence with evidence that we have already placed in a context. We understand by relating the unknown to the known. The better we paint the overall picture, the easier it is for us to understand a new piece of evidence.
  3. Scholars create consensus by communicating with each other. We strive for objectivity by verifying and accepting the experiences of our colleagues as if they are our own. If an experience is not shared, it is irrelevant to the scholarly discourse. This is why publishing is such an essential part of scholarship and science. The German language does not differentiate between scholarship and science: both are called Wissenschaft. The word references a methodological approach to observations and theory: ein Vorgang, der Wissen schafft.

Perhaps there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but this little exercise proved affirming. For these reasons, and more, I am excited about the Green Scholars Initiative. It is important, the program has grown quickly, and it is continuing to develop and grow with Dr. Michael Holmes‘ current leadership.

To keep up with the Green Scholars Initiative, check into our Museum of the Bible newsroom for updated press releases like this exciting announcement: Green Scholars Initiative Honors Young Biblical Scholars. You can also find free lectures on our Museum of the Bible You Tube Channel.

-LM

Museum of the Bible, The Green Collection, Uncategorized, Work

Rock the Desert 2015

August 11, 2015

When you are getting heat warnings on your weather app, but still spending 12 hours outside in the heat, you know you must be at Rock the Desert.

It is quite an event to behold. Thousands of people coming out to the desert in 100+ degree weather to watch Christian artists perform all throughout the day.

Museum of the Bible had the chance to be there as one of the sponsors, and we had a great time.

Some of the highlights of being a part of this event are pictured below.

First, we had to get our tent all set up, and it looked awesome:

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People loved our free photo booth:
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Including our team
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Our team did NOT like the dangerous fire ants. Three of us experienced fire ant attacks, and it was not fun. But all in all, we dominated those ants. #AntsWontWin #KristineisaBoss

We had to try very hard to stay hydrated. We gave out a ton of water to everyone that came through out tent. I personally drank about 50 bottles of Museum of the Bible water. The Museum has good water.
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Did a few interviews to let people know what we were doing at Rock the Desert. (Yikes! Live TV is always a little intimidating!)
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We were excited to see Building 429 come by our place!
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The stage was awesome.
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Until we had to go on it. Then it didn’t seem as cool, just a lot scary. (Michael owns the stage. I am working on it…)
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But we survived, and then we got to be backstage between Andy Mineo and Lecrae. So it was well worth it. (Those are two of my favorite artists!!)
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Mineo!
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Lecrae!
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Museum of the Bible gave away this amazing guitar signed by all the artists- and Abby was our winner!!
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After all the work, we got to sit and enjoy hearing Lecrae close out the weekend. It was very American. He sang “Welcome to America”, with fireworks going off in the background, a big american flag as the backdrop to the stage, and security officers listening from their horses. #Merica
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Thanks for having us, Rock the Desert! It was quite a memorable weekend. #LovetheBible

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, The Green Collection, Work

More than a Museum

July 30, 2015

Can you remember what it was like to be at the beginning of a grand adventure, and not even realize it at the time? Maybe you were moving to a new state. Maybe your adventure was getting married. Or maybe you were taking the plunge and starting your own business.

Jumping into a new and unknown path can be exciting. When you having no idea what lies ahead of you, it can also feel daunting.

I embarked on a particular adventure a little over five years ago.

I was fresh out of college, a year into marriage, and eager to join my dad, Steve Green, on the unforeseen adventure of caring for artifacts that my family had started to accumulate. It was my first full-time job since I got my degree in Classics. I had no idea what stepping into this job would entail or what it might become.

If I had known then where we would be now, I may have thought twice before taking the job. Being involved in the process of building an artifact collection and a museum from scratch is a wild ride. A lot of work goes into building a museum. Not only are we building a museum, we are simultaneously building massive projects as essential initiatives of the museum. When I stepped into this new world called Museum of the Bible, we were two employees deep and a couple of thousand artifacts wide. Things have changed dramatically since then.

The collection started with just a few acquisitions in 2009. Within a few years, it became one of the largest in private hands. With the collection, came a path for founding Museum of the Bible.

It is challenging to communicate all that goes on under the umbrella of Museum of the Bible. Here is a quick overview of the four main buckets making up Museum of the Bible.

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  1. The Museum
  • This is a big one. If you have only heard a little bit about Museum of the Bible, then it is probably something involving our Washington, DC, site. In the fall of 2017, Museum of the Bible is opening a permanent museum just two blocks from the National Mall. And this is only two years away, so start planning ahead for your trip to DC because you definitely want to check this out! This museum is going to be top-of-the-line in interaction, technology, and engagement for people with various levels of Bible knowledge and all kinds of interests.

  1. Traveling Exhibits
  • We have a number of traveling exhibits under our belts already, and there are more to come! So far, our domestic exhibit Passages has been to six different cities: Oklahoma City (OK), Charlotte (NC), Atlanta (GA), Colorado Springs (CO), Springfield (MO), and, currently, Santa Clarita (CA). As far as international exhibits go, we have exhibited at the Vatican twice (2012 and 2014), and presented special exhibits in Israel, Cuba, and Argentina. You can follow Museum of the Bible on social media to see where we might go next—there are some awesome possibilities on the docket.

  1. Research
  • Research is integral to who we are and foundational for our work. Through the Green Scholars Initiative, we partner with established scholars, as well as new and upcoming scholars, and provide access to the incredible artifacts in our holdings for ongoing research and scholarship. Research of our artifacts is important because it allows us to understand better the collection, history, and the Bible. It is important for us to see excellent scholarship done with the collection, as well as mentoring young students as developing scholars. We currently doing research on about sixty projects, including studies on our Dead Sea Scroll fragments, the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, papyri, manuscripts, and more.

Education

  1. Education
  • Almost everyone agrees that education is important and beneficial to society. Museum of the Bible is no different, and desires to promote education. The book we display, research, and teach about has been a significant text for millennia. It is important to know this book in order to understand many things, like Western culture. For this reason, and more, we are creating a high school level curriculum about the Bible. This is a high quality, technologically advanced curriculum that is already being used in schools in Israel, and will go to many other countries in the future.

This is just a little glimpse into some of the highlights happening at Museum of the Bible. There are more projects going on that I don’t have time to write about now. If you are interested, you can follow me, or @museumofBible, for updates on these and other projects (including our recently announced archaeological dig!)

Expect to see a series of posts from me sharing more in-depth about these projects, and what excites me most about each one.

Stay tuned,

-LM

Church, Teaching, The Green Collection, Uncategorized

Rome!

April 16, 2012

Well it was a good day in Rome! I went back to the church I visited here last time: Rome Baptist Church. I have ally enjoyed my two visits at this church! It is a congregation of about 260 people on average, and it is a very diverse group, which is so fun! I think it is beautiful to see people from all over the world coming together and worshiping the same Savior. Just in the short time I had to meet people at the church, there were people from every continent except Antarctica. It was wonderful! And my favorite person I met was a woman from America who lived in Italy and had just adopted two babies from Ethiopia! Ah so fun!
The sermon that Pastor Dan gave was from John 20:24. The point that Dan was trying to get across is that we should trust in God and not doubt, and we should go forward in His work and not waste time. This challenged me because God was showing me how selfish I am with my time. I have been talking about wanting to serve Him with my time for a few months now but haven’t actually taken the initiative to give of my time and serve in some compactly. I felt challenged to find somewhere to serve when I get back home, so that is what I intend to do!
Something else that hit me was from a tangent that Pastor Dan went on during his sermon. 🙂 He mentioned the importance of considering how you personally can grow from a teaching, instead of thinking of all the other people that you think need to hear the message. I thought that was so good. It is easy to try to point to others who need to grow of change, and point the finger at them as you compare yourself and think you are doing better. In a book called Humility by C. J. Maheney, the point is made that we should not compare ourselves to others, because that can bring up pride and self righteousness. Rather if we are going to compare ourselves, compare ourselves to God, and we will realize there is no reason that we should be prideful.

I have so much to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn from Rome Baptist Church.

After church, I ran down to the monummento a Vittorio Emanuele II. Here are some photos from the views of the top of the monument.

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