Origins of the Bible, offered in the May term, was designed to trace the history of the Bible, focusing mainly on the New Testament, from original autograph to the many current translations that exist today. Two weeks of in-class instruction were followed by two field trips. The first was a day trip to visit the University of Michigan Papyrology Collection in Ann Arbor. This location holds many of the ancient pages of the New Testament, including “P46” which is one of the oldest fragmented pages of First Corinthians in the world. The students were able to see a number of early complete Bibles at a distance as well. The hosts were knowledgeable and genuinely interested in helping the listener understand the significance in what was displayed.
The second field trip encompassing the third week of class included visits to Princeton Seminary, Princeton NJ, and the new Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. At Princeton’s Special Collection, the class was not only able to see early complete Bibles, but also page through them personally. For most, the experience of seeing an original Tyndale Bible or a first edition of Martyr’s Mirror was inspirational. The class also visited the graves of Jonathan Edwards and his wife at Princeton Cemetery.
The six-story Museum of the Bible is a national treasure. It has many interactive exhibits along with 3-D films. The class had tour guides which enhanced the experience. The fourth floor was voted the favorite. Here, many clay cuneiform tablets, fragment manuscripts, and all of the early complete Bibles are housed in glass cabinets. The rich collection of Bibles stirred the class to marvel over God’s Word across time.
We visited Ann Arbor on Friday, May 4.
We left for Princeton and Washington D.C. on Sunday, May 13 and returned on Friday night, May 18.