A Tale of Two Bible Museums—and of Anti-Religious Bigotry

New York’s Museum of Biblical Art is set to close its doors. The reason? Despite its avowedly secular approach to the Bible, it proved to be “too religious” for most donors. Meanwhile, the Green family, proprietors of the Hobby Lobby chain, is planning a massive Bible museum in Washington DC that enthusiastically embraces both religious and secular appreciation for the sacred text. Naomi Schaefer Riley writes:

As Richard Townsend, the Museum of Biblical Art’s director, explained, the museum has tried “to move out of the shadow of [its explicitly Christian founders], but I think that, try as we might, there was brand confusion.” The implication, of course, is that you must be one brand or the other—the kind of person who thinks the Bible is a great book that has inspired beautiful literature and art or the kind who thinks the Bible contains Truth. Not both. . . .

[By contrast, although] the Green family is mostly Protestant, their museum has found partners with Jewish groups, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and even the Vatican. And they have welcomed the input of scholars with no religious background at all.

The Greens have been regularly mocked for their position that their business should reflect their values. . . . The Museum of the Bible will reflect their values as well. But as it turns out, the Greens seem to be much more tolerant and welcoming of non-believers than the secular elite seems to be of them.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Bible, Ecumenicism, Hobby Lobby, Museums, Religion & Holidays, Religious art, Secularism

 

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas