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Bible and Orient Museum

Bible and Orient Museum


Fribourg Switzerland

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The Bible and Orient Museum in Fribourg, Switzerland is the exhibition of a collection of ancient Egyptian and ancient Near Eastern miniature art, as well as a project to create a modern museum to compare biblical and extra-biblical texts with archaeological, epigraphical and iconographical data. This comparison is aimed at offering stimulating insights for the advancement of the interreligious dialog.Responsible bodyThe Swiss Canton of Fribourg, the University of Fribourg and the promoters association «project BIBLE+ORIENT» created the foundation BIBEL+ORIENT in 2005 for the purpose of valorizing and expanding the collection with the aim of its efficient publication and the future construction and operation of a Bible and Orient Museum.Formation and purposeAlready as a student, the biblical, religious science and Egyptology professor Othmar Keel collected miniature image carriers such as Cylinder seals, scarabs and amulets on his trips to the region of Southwestern Asia and the ancient Near East. Five to three thousand years ago, this “miniature art”, which could easily be carried over long distances, distributed – as a sort of mass communication – important motives and symbols. At that time it represented important symbols of protection and power and today it reveals the close bonds of the Bible with its ancient Near Eastern surroundings. Keel observed that without knowledge of these symbols, many biblical comparisons, symbols and visions cannot be properly understood and thereby demonstrated the general importance of ancient Near Eastern cultural history for biblical science.

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