We had an opportunity to go to the Passages exhibit (http://explorepassages.com/atlanta) yesterday in Atlanta and it was fantastic. The exhibit closes at the end of June so if there is any way possible for you to make time to go, do so. I highly recommend it.
Passages traces the development of the English Bible and is one of the largest collections of Biblical antiquities in the world. As a Bible student I was enthralled with every case as I was finally seeing artifacts I have only read about for years. If you have no prior knowledge of the Bible’s development, no worries. Each person entering is given an iPod with over 8 hours of commentary. You will learn! The display cases and rooms have several corresponding codes that when entered into the iPod, plays about 3-5 minutes of audio which will tell you all about what you are seeing. For children, the staff gives them a special code that corresponds to a scavenger hunt that will keep them interested. For all the phobic people, the earphones are covered with some sort of sanitized, medical looking “thingy do-s.” They look like those things surgeons put on their shoes, but they are for your ears. Enjoy the Bible at Passages, you won’t get head lice!
The exhibit is well thought out and offers two subplots for the seasoned Bible student and the novice alike. For the seasoned student Passages is, as I said previously, all the serious manuscripts you have read about, but never seen. For the novice the manuscripts are fascinating enough, but the struggle for translation and preservation of the text becomes the overarching theme. From ancient Old Testament texts, to Jerome, to Luther, to the KJV, the exhibit is broken down into key eras of textual history. In each room the story is well told using several venues of multimedia. There is even a working replica of Guttenberg’s printing press. Even some of history’s infamous blooper Bibles are included like the Wicked Bible, “thou shalt commit adultery” or The Child Killer Bible which reads in Mark 7:27 that the children should be “killed” instead of “filled.” Big difference!
Allow yourself 1:30 – 2 hours to get through the exhibit at a pace which will allow you to at least see most of what is there. You could spend twice the time, or as the iPod will allow you with 8 hours of commentary, spend the whole day. Your ticket is an “all day” pass. You can enter, leave for lunch, and easily return in the afternoon.
If you have some time over the next few weeks, Passages is a must see. My only hope is that once the exhibit is closed it will reemerge in some form, somewhere. I understand that the founder of Hobby Lobby owns it. Maybe on your next visit to one of his stores you will pass a Geneva Bible sitting beside a 2nd Century Greek manuscript fragment as you get your shopping cart.