Floor 3—Stories of the Bible: The World of Jesus of Nazareth
The third floor of the museum is dedicated to Stories of the Bible. Three experiences and a central courtyard are available on this floor:
- The Hebrew Bible, an immersive walk-through experience based on the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament
- The New Testament, which is primarily comprised of a surround-screen theater featuring an immersive film experience
- The World of Jesus of Nazareth, an exhibit space re-creating a first-century village
- A completely immersive, themed environment, The World of Jesus of Nazareth features a foyer area to acquaint guests with the rich context of the time period before transporting them to a meticulous re-creation of a first-century village so they can gain a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the teachings and methods of Jesus.
- The courtyard, which serves as a central point of departure for the three experiences on the third floor and a neutral space for guests before they embark on their journey
Size and Content
The World of Jesus of Nazareth has 6,980 square feet of exhibit space and is comprised of 15 separate featured areas of interest:
- The Second Temple: The first part of the exhibit’s "Prologue Foyer," The Second Temple is a brief introductory section of the exhibit that orients guests in the religious and political upheaval of the first century. The Second Temple provides an overview of the culturally important temple and what it looked like during the time of Jesus.
- Clash of Kingdoms: This is a superlatively informative timeline of the regal upheaval in Nazareth and its surrounding regions leading up to the time of Jesus.
- Impact of Worlds: This area orients guests with Israel's cultural struggles at the time of Jesus—while some wanted to embrace Hellenization, others wanted to hold more tightly to the law of Moses. Meanwhile, Rome's influence and infrastructure had a huge impact on the region.
- Sepphoris: Nazareth's Forgotten Neighbor: This area pays tribute to the now-lost city of Sepphoris, a thriving, cosmopolitan metropolis just down the road from Nazareth at the time of Jesus. Hellenistic Jews embraced it wholeheartedly, while more traditional Jews likely stayed
- in Nazareth.
- Characteristics of Roman Rule: This area shows guests what life would have been like for observant and Hellenistic Jews living under Roman rule and the conflicted loyalty they would have felt between the Roman Empire and their own religious freedom.
- Amphitheater: This dynamic theater offers guests a restful moment to take in an energetic presentation that primes them for the political intrigue of first-century Nazareth and the revolutionary teachings and life of a man who hailed from there: Jesus.
- Village Center: This vast courtyard showcases the bustle of public village life, including an animal courtyard, a winepress, a well and towering olive trees—not to mention a live, costumed docent to add authenticity and provide more information.
- Parable Theater: This cozy standing theater offers guests filmed representations of some of the most arresting of Jesus' parables.
- Typical House and Cooking Courtyard: These two areas detail the private life of Nazareth villagers, allowing guests to walk through a typical village home and see how they slept, prepared meals and performed other daily chores.
- Mikveh: This ceremonial bath played a key part in the rituals of observant Jews.
- Synagogue: Guests take in a jaw-dropping re-creation of a typical village house of worship and instruction.
- Olive Mill: This area shows the vital role olives and olive oil played in village life.
- House Under Construction: Another eye-popping, detailed area, this feature delivers the goods on demonstrating the backbreaking labor that went into building a home.
- Rest and Reflection: The final area in the exhibit, this breathtaking and lifelike mural transports guests away from the bustle to the edge of the village, looking out from a great height onto the Sea of Galilee.
Virtually every part of The World of Jesus of Nazareth is handcrafted by incomparable artisans pouring themselves into every fabricated stone, tree branch and wooden wheel. The illusion of an immersive environment is compounded by fine-tuned audio from point-source speakers that creates the proper verisimilitude in each area: animal noises in the courtyard, construction sounds in the house and peaceful breezes on the coast.
The World of Jesus of Nazareth in Stories of the Bible was designed by JMC Museum Arts, a division of Jonathan Martin Creative Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee, which provides planning, research, design and implementation services to museums, theme parks and a host of nonprofit entities in North America and around the world.
The galleries' content was developed by JMC Museum Arts in consultation with an international team of scholars from Nazareth Village, Nazareth, Israel, led by Gordon Campbell, Ph.D., and David Trobisch, Ph.D., combining the Museum of the Bible Collection with themed environments and engrossing storytelling to immerse guests in first-century Nazareth.
About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. On Nov. 17, 2017, Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world, opened its 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. A digital fly-through of the Museum is viewable here. A 360-degree hardhat tour of the museum is available here.
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