Considered to be the national museum of the state of Israel, the Israel Museum exhibits a wide range of subjects. However, the focus, and most popular parts of the museum, are the exhibits related to Biblical archaeology, Judaism, and Israeli culture. In 2017, I reviewed the archaeological wing of the Museum for The Watchman show.
The Israel Museum and the Bible
Set in the center of western Jerusalem, next to the Israeli Parliament building (the Knesset), the Israel Museum was founded in 1965 to present Israel’s most important cultural treasures. Its archaeological wing exhibits some of the most significant artifacts recovered in various digs. Canaanite worship idols, a Judean temple from Arad, and the House of David inscription are just some of the finds that shed light on the history and religions recorded in the Old Testament. Christians will especially be fascinated by the display of archaeological evidence of crucifixion, the bone box of high priest Caiaphas, and the Pilatus Inscription.
A special building is devoted to the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dating to the early Roman period, these scrolls reflect an ascetic community that shared many values similar to those of the early Christian church. Next to it, a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem is a great tool to estimate the size and shape of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.
Touring the Israel Museum
The Israel Museum is open every day, and on Tuesdays also in the evening. It offers pamphlets and an audio guide, although best way to appreciate it is in a guided tour.