Claremont School of Theology (CST) is proud to announce that Dr. Marvin A. Sweeney – world-renowned Professor of Hebrew Bible at CST and Professor of Tanakh at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA) – is among a distinguished list of international advisors for the Museum of the Bible, opening to the public in November 2017.
“It is more than just an honor to serve on the council,” says Dr. Sweeney. “It is an opportunity to be directly involved – apart from teaching at CST and AJRCA – with an institution that is interested in promoting the understanding and study of the Bible for a much broader public.”
According to the museum news release, the International Advisory Council is comprised of archaeologists, professors, theologians and scholars and includes pastors, priests and rabbis. Members hold advanced degrees from such distinguished institutions as Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Wharton, University of London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yeshiva College, Catholic University of America, Claremont College, NYU, and more.
“Claremont School of Theology is fortunate to call Dr. Sweeney one of its own,” said the Rev. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, CST President and Hebrew Bible scholar. “He is the absolute authority in his field. Hundreds of CST graduates from all over the world came here specifically to study with Dr. Sweeney. Knowing that he is helping to guide the formation and presentation of this museum tells me that it will be of the utmost in quality and delivery of knowledge.”
While the museum possesses an extensive collection of sacred texts such as portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Torah Scrolls that survived the Spanish Inquisition, the project has drawn its critics. Founded by Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green, some feared it may push fundamentalist Christian beliefs, but museum president, Cary Summers, recently stated that, “This is about the Bible, it’s not about faith tradition. None of this gets into apologetics at all. We really try to avoid that.”
Indeed, part of Dr. Sweeney’s role will be to authenticate artifacts, making sure that everything displayed has been thoroughly vetted. “The Museum does not proselytize; it is interested in promoting knowledge,” said Sweeney. “The Council is entrusted with reviewing exhibits and materials for display, in support of that purpose.”
The 430,000-square-foot museum is under construction in Washington, D.C., two blocks from the National Mall and three blocks from the United States Capitol building. The $500 million, privately-funded, eight-story structure aims to provide ‘an immersive and personalized experience exploring the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible… using cutting-edge technology to bring the Bible to life.’ The experience includes narratives, digital guidance, a performing arts theater, a Biblical garden, and a restaurant.