Israel Museum

Monday 16th June 2014

After being given input on the Gospel of Mark in the morning, in the afternoon I joined a group of fellow participants in the Ecce Homo biblical programme for a visit to the Israel Museum in Western Jerusalem (the new city). It is the national museum of Israel. I only had a couple of hours there, which was all the ‘free’ time we had today, but could have spent at least twice as much time there. For general information on the museum see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Museum.

The museum is located near the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.

View of the Knesset from the grounds of the Israel Museum

View of the Knesset from the grounds of the Israel Museum


The first section of the museum that I visited, for which the museum is rightly famed, is The Shrine of the Book. This houses the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran, the place which we had visited last week on the western shore of the Dead Sea.
The Shrine of the Book

The Shrine of the Book


The shape of the white roof is designed to represent the lid of a pottery jar in which Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden and found 2,000 years later. The fountains of water spraying onto the roof are not for cooling, as I had supposed, but to represent purification, for the members of the Qumran community were noted for taking ritual baths for purification. I am told that the building is especially designed that in the event of an attack the structure which holds the precious ancient manuscripts will sink deep into the floor and be covered over out of harm’s way. Another floor in the same complex contained an exhibition on the Aleppo Codex, a 10th century text of parts of the Hebrew Scriptures. For detailed information on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aleppo Codex see the relevant sections of the Museum’s website: http://www.english.imjnet.org.il

Adjacent to the Shrine of the Book there is a large scale model of Jerusalem of the Second Temple Period, the time of Herod the Great, the time also in which Jesus preached here, was arrested, suffered, was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. It was fascinating to see the model bring to ‘life’ much of what we had been told in our guided tours of the city, where it had been explained to us in words where and how buildings and access points had been, especially in regard to the Temple, filling in the gaps, as it were, in the remnants of the buildings that remain to this day. In the model you can see how prominently it towers over the ancient city. I overheard a guide saying that the Temple building was three times higher than the Dome of the Rock, the gold dome of which glistens in the contemporary cityscape of Jerusalem today. So it certainly must have been impressive.

Scale Model in the Israel Museum of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period

Scale Model in the Israel Museum of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period


I spent much of my remaining time in the archaeological section, wandering through the exhibitions on the original settlement of the land in ancient times, the arrival of the Israelites, the various kingdoms, the Greeks, the Romans, the Christian Byzantine era, the advent of Islam, the Crusades and so on. Again, it was good to see items that corresponded to people and events about which we had heard from our various tour guides and visits to places around Jerusalem and in southern Israel.
Bronze Statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian

Bronze Statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian

As I was making my way out the museum I went past an exhibition on “Journeys” that I did not have time to visit. However, my eye was caught by this description of the exhibition and the reference to journeying, which resonated with my recent experience of walking the Camino in Spain.
An introduction to "Journeys", an exhibition in the Israel Museum

An introduction to “Journeys”, an exhibition in the Israel Museum


When the museum closed at 5.00, we caught a bus and visited the
Machane Yehuda Market. The official website is http://www.machne.co.il/en/
Machane Yehuda Market in West Jerusalem

Machane Yehuda Market
in West Jerusalem


It was very similar to the Carmel Market I had seen yesterday in Tel Aviv (and to other markets in other parts of the Middle East and Asia), except that it was more institutionalised. The produce and goods and food-stalls were more or less the same contents but in a more established structure.
"Kippa" (skull caps) and other Jewish artefacts

“Kippa” (skull caps) and other Jewish artefacts


Fish

Fish


Nuts

Nuts


Dried Fruits

Dried Fruits


Olives

Olives


Fresh Fruits

Fresh Fruits


Shalom, Peace, Salaam

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Israel Museum

  1. Josie

    Hi Patrick, Glad you found the museum interesting. When I last visited, I looked for and found the tiny silver amulet of the Aaronic blessing that was buried about 2500 years ago. I bought myself a replica at the museum.
    Did you realize that Qumram is in the PA , not in Israel? And that the PA have demanded the return of the Dead Sea Scrolls ? Crazy stuff.
    Yesterday our community held a prayer meeting to recite psalms for the three kidnapped boys.Very powerful to hear hundreds ( the large auditorium was full) of people reciting Tehillim together including psalm 121.
    You are certainly living in interesting times in Israel.
    Best Wishes, Josie

    Reply
    1. Patrick McInerney Post author

      Hi Josie, Interesting times indeed! We too have prayed for the three kidnapped boys. It is good to be able to have input and guided tours. So much to see and learn! Regards, Patrick

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s