Israel Museum has new look at history of Holy Land

Fri Aug 6, 2010 6:13am EDT
 
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By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM (Reuters Life!) - A new Jerusalem exhibit displaying a million years of history in the Holy Land offers Bible buffs and skeptics alike a chance to say: "I told you so!"

The Israel Museum, fresh-faced after a three-year, $100 million upgrade, offers an unparalleled look into the development of monotheistic religions, while leaving plenty of room for both science and faith.

The museum's more devout visitors may feel vindicated by a collection of three-thousand-year-old weapons used by ancient warriors in the Battle of Lachish, verifying the fighting as depicted in the Bible.

The scientifically minded can point to a set of 1.5 million year old bull horns on display around the corner, by far predating Earth's creation as described by the book of Genesis.

One museum employee told how an ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple touring the museum was confused by the discrepancies.

"They asked why we dated the objects as being so old since according to the Bible, the world was created just 6,000 years ago," she said.

The museum's chief curator of archaeology, well aware of the precarious relationship between archaeology and religion, said some artifacts can be seen as confirmation of the Bible, but many findings don't match what was written.

"We present it as a play. From the oldest possible to the present," Michal Dayagi-Mendels said. "But what you can clearly see is the influence and inspiration things had on each other."   Continued...