Opinion

Museum of the Bible Has Jumped the Ark

Do we really have to explain to the CEO of the Museum of the Bible that archaeologists didn’t find the rock that killed Goliath?

Just in case the CEO of the Museum of the Bible is reading this. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “David” (1623–24) is NOT an accurate portrayal of David slaying Goliath. (image courtesy flickr.com/maha-online)

The CEO of the Museum of the Bible, Ken McKenzie, appears to think that the Biblical story of David and Goliath is real, and that archaeologists have actually discovered the exact stone (which he’s weirdly specific about) used to slay the giant.

Let me quote the Washington Times (emphasis mine):

Ken McKenzie, CEO of the Museum of the Bible in the District of Columbia, said it is possible to teach from the Bible in a nonsectarian way. His organization provides curricula to home-schoolers, private Christian schools across the U.S. and schools in Israel, where Bible study is part of high school education.

He offered as an example the Old Testament story of David and Goliath.

We’ll read the story, and then we’ll study the material around it. Archaeological excavations have found the stone that was used of 1.5 to 2 pounds, and we’ll review some ancient texts about life at that time and watch a video that shows how a sling could be accurate,” Mr. McKenzie said. “This is not [an assignment that says], ‘This is what we believe.’”

A former pilot and officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force turned Airbus executive, McKenzie’s words are the latest example of the Museum of the Bible being involved in questionable intellectual activity and framing. Recently the museum, as reported by Michael Press for Hyperallergic, has engaged in what appears to be illegal archaeological activity on occupied lands and fake Dead Sea scrolls. This latest isn’t the most notable incident, but it does make you wonder how reality-based the institution and its staff actually are.

I’m not sure what else to say about a museum CEO that appears to think you can find a specific rock from a story that appeared thousands of years ago. But then again, as he says, “This is what we believe,” and you can’t argue with the faithful, whether it’s religion, art, politics, or anything else.

But on the bright side, maybe I can finally get rid of this sliver of wood I found the other day that I’m absolutely convinced was part of the “true cross.” If McKenzie is reading this, contact me. I’ll sell it to you at a discount.

h/t @ryanfb and @SarahEBond

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