Adventist University in Brazil Inaugurates First Museum of Biblical Archaeology in South America

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Brazil Adventist University (Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo—UNASP), Engenheiro Coelho campus, inaugurated the Museum of Biblical Archaeology (MAB), the first museum of its kind in South America. The event was attended by the donors, authorities, and guests, as well as Dr. Rodrigo Silva, the creator of the project.

The donors were honored, and Silva gave an overview of the museum’s significance for the institution. “It’s not here to be visited. It’s here to be experienced,” he said during the presentation.

The inauguration ribbon was cut in front of the MAB in a solemn celebration. The first session was attended by the guests of honor, but over the course of the afternoon, six more visits were made, which sold out in about four minutes.

FOR WHAT DOES THE MAB STAND?

The symbol of the museum’s logo is an oil lamp, one of the most widely used objects in antiquity. In the same way that this piece is meant to illuminate, the MAB seeks to be the light of God’s Word for all people. “Now with this museum, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is giving the biblical text the importance it needs to have, and this is the great reference for us to have a fairer and better world,” said Gilberto Kassab, secretary of Government and Institutional Relations for the State of São Paulo.

In addition, the MAB brings a new perspective to those who already know the Bible but don’t realize it has idioms, culture, and geography that influence its interpretation and veracity. “The museum’s pieces bring a cross-section of that ancient Orient from the biblical period to Brazil so that people can read the Bible in a three-dimensional way, further reinforcing the faith they already have,” explained Dr. Silva.

Finally, it uses biblical knowledge in a scientific way to encourage students to develop critical thinking. “Having a museum that values the Bible and links it to science is the pinnacle of the existence of a school that wants to advance at all levels of knowledge,” emphasized Martin Kuhn, president of UNASP’s Engenheiro Coelho campus, with a sense of mission accomplished.

INTERNAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND BIBLE GARDEN

Visiting the MAB is like entering a time tunnel. With around 3,000 original pieces and dozens of replicas, the exhibition recounts more than 4,000 years of history through a timeline that divides the phases from the Early Bronze Age to the Byzantine period. “We thought of the museum as if it were a flexible box, where the collection is more important than the architecture itself,” said Thiago Pontes, project architect.

Upon entering, visitors will find a replica of the floor of the Temple of Jerusalem, from the time of Jesus. This example is unique in Brazil, with only two other reproductions located in Israel. In addition to this artifact, an ancient brick with cuneiform writing also stands out in the exhibition. The piece has important significance, as it mentions King Nebuchadnezzar, who was responsible for conquering Judah, destroying the temple in Jerusalem, and taking the people of Israel captive to Babylon in 609 BC.

The museum’s pieces date back to the 2000s BC and come from all over the world, including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and some European countries. To ensure the maintenance of this collection, planning is necessary to avoid any damage. “We take special care to ensure that the pieces are preserved, such as ensuring the correct exposure to light according to the type of material and coloring,” said Sergio Micael, the museum’s historian.

In addition to the internal part, the MAB also has the Bible Garden, which has various species of trees and objects with biblical meanings. Examples of these are: the grapevines, which symbolize the blood of Christ; the wheat mill, which represents the body of Christ through bread; and the olive mill, a symbol of the Holy Spirit because of the olive oil. This part, which wasn’t part of the initial project, now stands out as being of equal importance to the internal environment.

MUCH MORE THAN A VISIT

For Elizabeth Laffranchi, who is a teacher and one of the donors, the MAB has a meaning that runs from the spiritual to the educational. “Children and sometimes even adults need to see something concrete in order to believe in our wonderful God and in the history of God’s people, which is why I contributed to the realization of this place,” she said.

The visit was also significant for the Félix family, who live in Rio de Janeiro and found out about the inauguration through Dr. Silva’s Bible Commentary course. Although they had organized themselves and bought tickets, they couldn’t get the tickets, which sold out quickly. However, the situation became known, and the family had the opportunity not only to visit the museum but also take part in the tributes during the program. “God worked on this and made sure we were here today,” said an emotionally moved Amanda Félix.

Source: ANN English