Highlights of the Museum Collections

Antiquities and Classical Manuscripts
  • An array of biblical, classical, and documentary texts on papyrus including several previously unpublished New Testament fragments, P39 (P. Oxy. 1780), and the Greek Psalms codex known as P. Bodmer XXIV (Rahlfs 2110)
  • The third-century Wyman fragment, the oldest known copy of Romans Chapter 5:1, which states that Christians "are justified by faith"—a key passage during the Protestant Reformation
Jewish Texts
  • The world's largest collection of Torah scrolls, spanning more than 700 years of history, including Torahs that survived the Spanish Inquisition, scrolls confiscated by the Nazis during World War II, and others from across the globe
  • A large collection of Dead Sea Scroll fragments, the earliest surviving texts of the Bible, all of which have undergone research and have been published for the first time through the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative
Medieval Manuscripts
  • Codex Climaci Rescriptus, a palimpsest manuscript containing biblical texts from the fifth to ninth centuries CE, which comprises the world's largest corpus of Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a dialect of Aramaic close to the language Jesus would have used
  • The Rosebery Rolle, which contains a translation of the Psalms into Middle English that predates Wycliffe's translation by some 40 years
  • A copy of Wycliffe's New Testament in Middle English
  • Rare illuminated manuscripts, including the Hours and Psalter of Elizabeth de Bohun, one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts produced in 14th-century England
Printed Bibles and Reformation-Era Artifacts
  • First editions of the King James Bible
  • First editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible, the first Catholic English translation of the Old and New Testaments
  • A number of incunabula, or the early printed books, including fragments from the Gutenberg Bible
  • Early tracts and Bibles of Martin Luther
Americana
  • A first edition of the Eliot Indian Bible, the first Bible printed in America
  • The Aitken Bible, the first complete English Bible printed in America and the only Bible printing ever endorsed by Congress
  • A handwritten letter from Thomas Jefferson, in which he discusses his concept of religious liberty
  • The original manuscript of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which draws extensively from biblical imagery