POSTED ON JANUARY 3, 2007:
Traveling show displays panorama of Judeo-Christian history, with a message
A new exhibit is making its way to Tulsa, unlike anything many have ever seen before, and it's likely to stir up a great deal of attention here in the Bible belt.
The exhibit is "From Abraham to Jesus," and it's bringing to the U.S. for the first time archaeological artifacts from the Holy Land, primarily Israel. Included are more than 340 artifacts spanning 2,500 years of Biblical history in a 30,000 square-foot exhibit.
The exhibit is presented by the Way Makers, LLC, out of Springfield, MO, in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a number of other backers. The exhibit's General Manager, Stan Stovall, said the company isn't necessarily a Christian ministry, but it does a lot of work in Israel. Way Makers' CEO, Cary Summers, has been working with the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology on the concept for this exhibit for some time.
The purpose of the exhibit is to bring Israel to America, said Stovall. Not many people will have the opportunity in their lifetimes to travel to the Holy Land and see Abraham's home in the city of Ur, ancient Canaanite lamps and pottery and pieces of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel's Ivory Palace.
The Institute of Technology employees teams of archaeologists who spend their lives unearthing these and other precious artifacts.
The historical aspects of the exhibit seem to overshadow the fact that it is spiritually and scripturally based, and perhaps that is the intention. The exhibit has already been shown in Atlanta and Nashville, and Stovall said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Even those who don't necessarily call themselves Christians have been impressed by the historical scope of the exhibit, Stovall said.
However, it is still an exhibit whose basis lies in the Christian Bible, and Stovall didn't hesitate to acknowledge that.
"We're not trying to convert anyone or to solve the Israel/Palestine conflict, but we're not ashamed to be making a strong statement that God has His hand in people's lives," said Stovall.
The exhibit connects concrete artifacts to spiritual messages with Bible scriptures that mention the incident or place from where the artifact originated or was found. The exhibit attempts to prove these Biblical events with the artifacts.
"It's spiritually gripping as well as historically gripping," Stovall said. "We want people to think 'If God was working in such a way back then, how might He be affecting my life today?'"
Among the artifacts making their way to the U.S. are fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, never before seen in the U.S. and on public display for the first time since their discovery 50 years ago from Cave 1 at Qumran.
There's also an ossuary believed by archaeologists to have contained the bones of Simon of Cyrenia, who carried the cross of Jesus, and his son Alexander. An ossuary is a sort of casket in Jewish tradition -- once the body of the deceased has decayed, the bones are dug up and placed in the ossuary, which becomes a memorial for generations at a time.
There are a number of artifacts from the historic city of Masada in Israel, built by King Herod the Great, the site of the Jewish revolt against the Romans. The Romans overwhelmed the Jews, but rather than allow themselves to be taken captive by the Romans, the entire population of Jews, men women and children, committed suicide in one of the most tragic 1st Century events in history.
"From Abraham to Jesus" features a child's sandal believed to belong to one of the Jewish children, as well as a number of water jugs from Masada, where water was scarce.
There is also a part of a brick containing a proclamation by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, coins of King Alexander and the Maccabees, including the earliest known image of the Seven Branched Menorah and Egyptian artifacts, some of which are more than 5,000 years old, including tear drop pottery, funeral items and a turquoise winged scarab.
Accompanying the exhibit are audio headsets narrating from the viewpoint of Bible figures Daniel and Rachel.
"It's a complete experience from beginning to end," Stovall said.
Also accompanying the exhibit is a bazaar featuring the work of Christian inspirational artist Thomas Kincade, as well as replicas of the artifacts presented in the exhibit, like oil lamps, pottery, and food similar to what was eaten in Biblical times.
"From Abraham to Jesus" opens Wed., Jan. 10 at the Tulsa Convention Center, 100 Civic Center, near 7th and Houston, and will run through Feb. 28. Exhibit hours are Mon. through Sat., 9am to 9pm and Sun. 12 to 9pm.
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A15606