Tourist Tip #368 / See Original Texts of the Bible for Yourself

From the Second Temple period to the first printed Bibles, it's all there at the 'The Book of Books' exhibit at the Bible Lands Museum.

The Bible is famously the best-selling book of all time. It has been translated into hundreds of languages and is sacred to billions worldwide. Its pages brim with wars, mysticism, love stories, betrayals, even eroticism and plenty of other action, not to mention laws. And now it is the subject of an exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

The "Book of Books," which opened last week, gathers under one roof what the museum calls the "most important biblical texts ever to be seen in Israel."

The exhibit traces the Jewish roots of Christianity and the development and expansion of monotheism, with the help of some 200 biblical-era texts including fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint (a translation of Hebrew biblical and related texts into ancient Greek), the earliest known New Testament texts, illuminated manuscripts, rare fragments from the Cairo Geniza - a collection of Jewish manuscript fragments found in an old Cairene synagogue - as well as original pages from the Gutenberg Bible.

Most of the artifacts are on loan from the Green Collection, one of the biggest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts.

The show's starting point is the Second Temple period – when the Dead Sea scrolls were written and Christianity was born – and continues through the Middle Ages and the invention of the printing press, up until modern times.

The exhibition is on view until February 28, 2014, after which it will travel to the Vatican. Audio guides are available, and there are guided tours of the show in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic.

For more information, visit http://blmj.org/.

Bible Lands Museum, 25 Avraham Granot Street, Jerusalem

Tel. (02) 561-1066; opening hours: Sun., Mon., Tues., Thurs. 9:30 A.M. - 5:30 P.M.; Wed. 9:30 A.M. - 9:30 P.M.; Fri. and holiday eves 10 A.M. – 2 P.M.

Gil Eliahu