The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem houses one of the world’s most important collections of ancient Near Eastern artefacts, illustrating the civilisations of the biblical period. Initially one man’s dream, this museum was created by Dr. Elie Borowski, a scholar and former ancient art dealer, who carefully collected the objects in the museum over a period of over a half a century.
The museum is designed to give the visitor a glimpse of the world of the Bible. The exhibition highlights the relationship between the spiritual and physical worlds, following in the footsteps of man’s quest for the transcendental, and covers the initial stages of the monotheistic religions: Judaism and Christianity.
These objects were made, used and valued by people long ago. They were part of everyday life, were used in religious rituals, and demonstrate the origins of communication and urbanisation.
We can better understand the history of the land of Israel when we look at it in relation to the influences that affected Israel during the biblical period. Just as no man is an island, neither is any culture, particularly in the ebb-and-flow of the Near East. Israel, a small country at the crossroads of the mainstream of the ancient world, was influenced by the cultures that left their imprint on the customs, concepts and material culture of ancient Israel.
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem illustrates the cultures of all the peoples mentioned in the Bible – from Egypt eastward across the Fertile Crescent to Afghanistan, and from Nubia northwards to the Caucasian mountains. You will learn about the Philistines and the Aramaeans, the Hittites, the Phoenicians, the Persians and the ancient Greeks. The Mesopotamians, the pyramid builders of ancient Egypt and the ancient Phoenicians are no longer with us, but the Bible and its teachings became the basis of western civilisations and have shaped our history for centuries.
The museum is arranged chronologically. We have chosen to illustrate the changes which took place in different lands simultaneously, enhanced by a time line in the introductory gallery and by wall maps placed throughout the galleries.
Biblical quotations are placed throughout the galleries, referring to the periods and cultures from which these artefacts came. These quotations are not intended to imply that the exhibits you see before you are the actual objects described in the Bible, but since they come from the periods and civilisations mentioned there, their juxtaposition with the biblical quotations adds another dimension to our understanding the world of the Bible.