The Bible in the British Museum

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
Trip End Feb 04, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, February 1, 2013

This morning after breakfast I took the tube to the British Museum, where I wanted to take photos of some of the Biblically connected artifacts, especially from the Egyptian and Assyrian periods. There are statues of Ramses II, who is often identified as the Pharaoh of the exodus, although that's not certain. And there are many Assyrian artifacts that are interesting.

The Black Obelisk for example shows Israelite king Jehu bowing before Shalmaneser III. This obelisk, dated to about 825 BC shows the earliest known image of an Israelite. The inscription reads "The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."

The famous Rosetta Stone is also on display here. It dates from about 200 BC and was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. The same text is written in three languages: hieroglyphs, demotic (a sort of Egyptian cursive), and ancient Greek. Since the Greek was understood, it became possible to understand the hieroglyphs which opened a great deal of understanding about ancient Egypt.

There are two winged bulls from Sargon’s Assyrian palace of Khorsabad. On the stomach of one bull is a statement that Jewish king Hezekiah paid tribute to Sargon.

There are also wall reliefs showing the siege of Lachish by Sennacherib. Unfortunately the rooms containing these reliefs were closed during my visit, but I have seen them before and they’re quite impressive. I’ve had the chance to visit Lachish and walked on the remnants of the siege ramp that Sennacherib’s army built. It is still visible.

I also looked at some of the exhibits from Celtic Britain, especially from the La Tène period, the second Celtic Iron Age. Through the connection between the Hallstatt civilization and the La Tène civilizations it is possible to link peoples in the Caucasus to the Celts of Western Europe. The Hallstatt civilization appears at roughtly the time the Bible records the fall of Assyria which had deported most of the Israelite nation, and which was apparently freed at that time. One can’t find, so far, an iron-clad connection, but the timing is fascinating.

Incidentally, the La Tène civilization is named for the village of that name which was located on the northern shore of Lake Neuchatel, just a short drive from where Mr. Giauque lives. A huge trove of artifacts from this lake village, caused archeologist to give that name to the whole civilization which was found all over eastern and western Europe.

I have visited the Laténium Museum on the site of La Tène where some amazing artifacts are displayed, swords, shields, jewelry and so forth from the Celtic period. I find these connections fascinating.

Following the British Museum, I made my way to a pub I wanted to visit: the Blackfriar, by Blackfriars’ station. It’s historic old pub of the kind I really love. While I ate a light lunch I observed the patrons. There were extremely well-dressed and distinguished-looking businessmen, and loud and boisterous construction-worker types, all enjoying a pint over lunch. The woodwork was beautiful. The English pub is a fine tradition.

Back at my hotel, I noticed a number of customers coming in quite worse for wear. There was a group of people about my age who had obviously been drinking. The women weren’t walking straight, and one had to sit down on the floor by the elevator and put her head between her knees to keep from becoming sick. That was sad.

I had a nap to rest up and recover a bit more then, went to meet the Hawkins for dinner at a historic restaurant called Medcalf, in the Exmouth Market not too far from my hotel. It was very nice, good food, nice décor, and fairly quiet. It was very nice to catch up on all the news with old friends, and enjoy a meal together. I was very tired by the end of the meal and even  in my long wool overcoat couldn’t seem to get warm on the walk back to the tube station.

Hopefully a good night’s sleep will set things right.
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jpvernaud on

Nous vous souhaitons un très bon séjour à Londres, n'oubliez pas que les Anglais roulent du mauvais côté de la route, c'est à dire à gauche, j'en avais parlé à un Anglais qui a dit que c'est nous qui roulions du mauvais côté de la route, mais c'est complétement faux.

Tess Washington on

Thank you for the photos & bits & pieces of history which are linked to biblical accounts. It sounds like England, especially London, is a place to visit & see these fascinating artifacts of time past ours. We have an advantage over these people of old because we can see a part of their environment and read about it. It is good to know that you had a fine dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins. And uplifting conversation during mealtime is refreshing! Thanks for the tip about English pubs! Sad note about people getting drunk, even women! Wine is for the body's benefit and not for misery! Get a lot of goodnight rest & sleep!

Mary Hendren on

Hi Joel,

Thanks for the great photos taken at the British Museum and your commentary. With the foundation of believing the Bible, you put things together that would surprise the curators! What priceless collections in the Museum. We're glad you had a good visit and pray the return trip is restful.


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