Today we drove to Oklahoma City for the second-to-last weekend of the Passages exhibit. It's a positively huge collection of ancient manuscripts, manuscript fragments, Bibles, and artifacts related to the Bible. The exhibit is arranged more or less chronologically, starting with some incredibly old Torah scrolls and some ancient oil lamps (Because the Word of God is "a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path") and following the Bible down through history. It's a fascinating story; to see it unfold right in front of you is an experience that you won't soon forget.
There are dozens of rare, precious copies of the Bible in the exhibit. They have a collection of early 1600s copies of the King James Bible (including a first edition or two), not to mention many translations that preceded it in English, Latin, and a few other languages. There is a copy of a letter written by Martin Luther shortly before his execution, complete with his signature. There is an actual fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls; I was surprised at the emotion that I felt looking at a piece of a page of a copy of the Old Testament that was in existence when Jesus walked the Earth. There's a working printing press like Gutenberg's (which is demonstrated every few minutes). There are video presentations that take place between characters that are in separate physical "windows" having a conversation with each other, which is very unique and fun to watch. There's even a room with a number of interesting misprints; I got to see the "Wicked Bible" I've always heard about (the one that says "Thou shalt commit adultery" in the Ten Commandments), one that says that Judas called the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane (it should say "Jesus" instead of Judas), and several others.
We got to see a Bible which is printed in ink made of real gold. We got to hear the stories of Jerome, Tyndale, Luther, and other important people in the history of the Bible, dramatized and told in their voice using animatroincs. It was an amazing ride; three or four hours had gone by before we knew it. My eleven-year-old son said, as we were leaving, that it had changed his life (wow!) If you have a chance to get to Oklahoma City in the next week or two, come on out and spend a day. If you love the Bible, you'll be glad you did. We were moved.
Here's a quick video about the exhibit:
The Web site is ExplorePassages.com; there are some other great videos about the exhibit on the Passages YouTube channel. The Oklahoma City exhibition ends on October 16th; after that the exhibit goes to the Vatican for an engagement. The Vatican! That's how important this thing is historically. We would have gone months ago ourselves if we hadn't had such a hectic summer; I almost wish now we had, because I'd like to go back!