Cavan Concannon is associate professor of religion at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Assembling Early Christianity: Trade, Networks, and the Letters of Dionysios of Corinth (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and 'When you were Gentiles': Specters of Ethnicity in Roman Corinth and Paul's Corinthian Correspondence (Yale University Press, 2014). He is also co-editor of The Museum of the Bible: A Critical Introduction (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019) and Across the Corrupting Sea: Post-Braudelian Approaches to the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean (Routledge, 2016). He is the co-director of the Mediterranean Connectivity Initiative and has excavated at Corinth and Ostia. You can follow him on Twitter @cavanconcannon.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XXII, November 22 – 24, 2019
Archaeology and the Bible at the Museum of the Bible
This talk explores how the newly-opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. uses archaeology to argue for the historicity and value of the Bible through a selective deployment of its collection. I show how the Museum uses archaeological materials to argue for the historicity of the Bible, an argument that is tied to larger political interests in presenting the US as a Christian nation that should be governed more in line with evangelical theology. This talk includes close readings of several different aspects of the Museum’s presentation and collection of archaeological materials: the use of ancient objects in a modern re-creation of Jesus’s Nazareth, a series of documentary-style videos that are featured throughout the Museum (called “Drive Thru History”), the Museum’s collection practices and selective curation, and the use of objects borrowed from state archaeological services (such as the Israeli Antiquities Authority) or copied and displayed as facsimiles in the Museum’s exhibits.