Houston Museum of Natural Science’s coming exhibition, “The Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story,” will open Dec. 12. According to an article in the museum’s HMNS News magazine, the exhibition tells the story of Judaism in Israel during the last two centuries before the turn of the first millennium. “Christianity is the child of Judaism,” it points out. “In order to know the child, it is important to know something about its mother, as well as about the circumstances of its birth. This exhibit tells that story in several parts: the Hellenistic period, the Roman period, ossuaries, Masada, the Judean Desert and the Roman army and, finally, the birth of Christianity.”
The exhibition explores “the enormous diversity of Jewish groups during the late Second Temple period. Christianity arose out of this diversity – initially as one of these many Jewish groups.
“The final section of the exhibition presents the manuscripts of the Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Hebrews. These are considered especially pertinent, as they are both early Christian texts that clearly stem from Jewish-Christian (as opposed to Gentile-Christian) communities. A characteristic feature of the Gospel of John that has puzzled interpreters for centuries is the fact that we find in it, side by side, both pro-Jewish and anti-Jewish comments.
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