Who's Afraid of the Museum of the Bible?

Critics accuse it of threatening the separation of church and state; in truth, Washington’s new museum makes an invaluable contribution to American (and Jewish) cultural literacy.

Tourists from Mississippi enter the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. on December 5, 2017. Evelyn Hockstein/For the Washington Post via Getty Images.

Tourists from Mississippi enter the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. on December 5, 2017. Evelyn Hockstein/For the Washington Post via Getty Images.

Essay
Jan. 2 2018
About the author

Diana Muir Appelbaum, a writer and historian, is at work on a book about nationhood and democracy. Her museum reviews have appeared in the Claremont Review, the New Rambler, and elsewhere.


The loud noise that you can hear from the National Mall in Washington is the sound of brickbats pelting the glass roof of the city’s new Museum of the Bible (MOTB). The museum houses an enormous display of the history and archaeology of the Bible. Its collections are spectacular. Entrance is free. Christian philanthropists paid for it. Evidently, it is for some or all of these reasons that so many of the nation’s critics are outraged.

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More about: Arts & Culture, Christianity, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Museum of the Bible, Museums