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'Museum Of The Bible' Puts Spotlight On Stolen Antiquities47:26Download

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The Hobby Lobby family’s “Museum of the Bible” opens in Washington with fanfare and controversy over stolen antiquities. We take a look at the issue of stolen antiquities and this groundbreaking new museum.

People preview the exhibit "The World of Jesus of Nazareth" at the Museum of the Bible. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
People preview the exhibit "The World of Jesus of Nazareth" at the Museum of the Bible. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The big and brand new Museum of the Bible opens today in Washington DC.  And not just anywhere, but just steps from the National Mall, the Smithsonian’s museums, the capitol’s great monuments.  It’s a cutting edge treatment of an ancient book.  To inform not preach it’s leaders say.  The family behind it?  The Hobby Lobby family.  Ardent evangelicals with a fortune from arts and crafts that has scooped up ancient artifacts all over.  This hour, On Point:  The Bible museum, and the Hobby Lobby family way. --Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Philip Kennicott, art and architecture critic for the Washington Post. (@PhilipKennicott)

Joel Baden, professor at Yale Divinity School and co-author of "Bible Nation: The United States Of Hobby Lobby." (@JoelBaden)

Morag Kersel, archaeologist and associate professor of anthropology at DePaul University. (@MoKersel)

From Tom's Reading List:

Washington Post: The New Bible Museum Tells A Clear, Powerful Story. And It Could Change The Museum Business. — "The new attraction is an up-to-date version of an old-fashioned museum, telling linear stories in a complex and detailed way. It doesn’t foreground trendy ideas about multiculturalism, and it isn’t “thematic,” or focused on broad ideas at the expense of chronological clarity. It gives a straightforward account of American history, from the first colonists to the civil rights era and beyond, through the prism of the Bible, but in a way that many visitors will probably find more compelling and accessible than the dense cultural stew on view at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History."

New York Times: Hobby Lobby's Black Market Buys Did Real Damage — "But Hobby Lobby did participate in and perpetuate the same market from which ISIS profits. If collectors like the Green family were unwilling to purchase unprovenanced antiquities — items that do not have a clear and clean history of discovery and purchase — the black market would dry up. As long as there are buyers, there will be sellers. It is because collectors like Hobby Lobby are willing to pay a premium and look the other way that looting continues. They dramatically expanded the market for biblical antiquities in the late 2000s."

 

This program aired on November 17, 2017.

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