Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World

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In honor of the first visit by Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the Penn Museum offers a special focus on the ancient Near East, Egypt, and the Bible Lands—with a limited-time-only display of rare artifacts from the collections of the University of Pennsylvania, on view August 15 through September 27, 2015.

A centerpiece exhibition, Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World, highlights the many ways the Bible—and stories akin to those in the Bible—have been represented over time and across continents.

Treasures from the Penn Museum:

  • One of the world's oldest fragments of the gospel of Saint Matthew, written on papyrus and dating to the 3rd century CE, was once part of a codex (book). This fragment, written in ancient Greek, contains the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 1: 1-9 and 12-20), a section that details the lineage of Jesus. (This is one of two genealogies of Jesus provided in the New Testament; the Gospel of Luke offers a largely different genealogy).
  • An ancient clay tablet in Sumerian cuneiform from the site of Nippur in Mesopotamia (now in Iraq), circa 1650 BCE, contains the earliest version of the Mesopotamian flood story. This tale becomes part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and tells of a flood that destroyed humankind—the story closely parallels the biblical story of Noah.

Bible Era and Bible Region Galleries

In addition to the special exhibition, visitors interested in the biblical era and region can step back in time to explore rare art, artifacts and large-scale photographs in several galleries: the Museum's renowned Egypt (Sphinx) gallery and a side gallery, Amarna, Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun; Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur's Royal Cemetery; Canaan and Ancient Israel; and Sacred Spaces: The Photography of Ahmet Ertug, featuring spectacular large-scale photographs of Byzantine-era churches in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

 
MUSEUM LOCATION

3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-4000

MUSEUM HOURS

Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
First Wednesdays: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday: CLOSED

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University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology | Penn Logo
3260 South Street | Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 898-4000 | Contacts

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