Green Collection

The Green Collection is the one of the world's largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts,[1] made up of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities[2][3] assembled by the Green family, founders of the American retail chain Hobby Lobby.

Green Collection
GenreBiblical manuscripts and related artifacts
Location(s)Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
InauguratedMarch 31, 2011
ActivityPassages exhibit
Patron(s)Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby

The collection is displayed in the $400-million Museum of the Bible which opened in 2017 in Washington, DC.[4][5][6]


The collection is named for the Green family, founders and leaders of Hobby Lobby, the world's largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer. The collection was assembled beginning in November 2009 by its original director, ancient/medieval manuscript specialist Scott Carroll, in cooperation with Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and the collection's benefactor.[7][8]


The capstone of the Green Collection is the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, known as Uncial 0250 (in the Gregory-Åland numbering); which is a palimpsest whose underwriting includes pages from a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, as well as pages from a Christian Palestinian Aramaic uncial manuscript of the Old and New Testament. Paleographically the Greek section has been assigned to the eighth century (or seventh century), and the Christian Palestinian Aramaic section to the sixth century.

A John Wycliffe Bible in the Green Collection

Other items in the Green Collection include:[9]

  • The world's largest private collection of Jewish scrolls, including Torahs that survived the Spanish Inquisition, scrolls confiscated by the Nazis and recovered in concentration camps and others from across the globe
  • One of the world's largest holdings of unpublished biblical and classical papyri, including texts that date back to the lost Library of Alexandria
  • Rare illuminated manuscripts and previously unknown biblical texts and commentaries
  • The earliest-known, near-complete translation of the Psalms in Middle English, including the Canticles and commentary predating Wycliffe's translation
  • An undocumented copy of Wycliffe's New Testament in Middle English
  • Some of the earliest printed texts, including a large portion of the Gutenberg Bible and the world's only complete Block Bible in private hands
  • Early tracts and Bibles belonging to Martin Luther, including a little-known letter written the night before his excommunication
  • An undocumented fragment of the Tyndale New Testament, published while he awaited execution
  • Numerous items illustrating the contribution of Jews and Catholics to the King James translation of the Bible and other historical artifacts


In 2015 questions were raised about the provenance of some articles in the collection when The Daily Beast ran a story about two or three hundred cuneiform tablets purchased from an Israeli antiquities dealer and confiscated by US Customs when they were being shipped to the Green collection storage facility in Oklahoma City in 2011. As of 2015, the tablets remained impounded as a legal dispute regarding the possible illegal purchase of antiquities removed from a conflict zone (Mesopotamia) proceeds.[10]

The museum previously held 16 purported Dead Sea Scrolls, but in March 2020, all of the fragments were confirmed to be archaeological forgeries.[11]

Worldwide exhibitionsEdit

Book of BooksEdit

On October 23, 2013, a special exhibition drawn from the Green collection, Book of Books, opened at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. It will be in Jerusalem until May 24, 2014. It then will become part of the permanent exhibition in the new museum.[12]

Verbum Domini exhibitEdit

Select items from Passages, the Green Collection and items on loan from other private collections around the world were displayed in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, for Lent and Easter 2012, highlighting the Jewish and Christian contributions to the formation and preservation of the Bible. American Bible Society and the Vatican Library supported this endeavor.[13][14]


Passages, a traveling exhibition featuring select items from the Green Collection that tell the story of the English Bible, was announced to a gathering of business, government, academic and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, on March 31, 2011.[15] Passages made its worldwide debut at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in Oklahoma City—home to Hobby Lobby's headquarters—in May 2011. The exhibit was eventually seen by more than 63,000 people in Oklahoma's capital city.[16][17]

Visitors to Passages interact with more than 400 rare biblical texts, artifacts and discoveries through multimedia and historical settings in an 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) exhibit designed to tell the story of how today's Bible came to be.[17][18][19]

Other exhibitsEdit

Portions of Passages and the Green Collection have also been on display on various college and university campuses throughout its worldwide tour, including Baylor University for its conference on "The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611–2011" in April 2011,[20][21] Liberty University in September 2011,[22] Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in February 2012,[23] and Indiana Wesleyan University in April 2013.[24] Items from the Green Collection appeared at a series of conferences in West Africa in September 2011.[25]

In honor of the Pope's September 2015 visit to Philadelphia, the Museum of the Bible will sponsor a special exhibition entitled, "Verbum Domini II,"at the Philadelphia Convention Center adjacent to the World Meeting.[26]

Scholars InitiativeEdit

Formed in the summer of 2010, the Scholars Initiative provides university mentors and student scholars at participating institutions with research opportunities on items from the Green Collection.[27][28]

Academics and textual experts participating in the Scholars Initiative include:[29]

Indiana Wesleyan University Professor Jerry Pattengale serves as Executive Director of the Green Scholars Initiative.

Museum of the BibleEdit

In 2012, Steve Green announced his family's intention to open a permanent institution, which he claimed would be a scholarly museum, not an evangelistic outreach ministry, within the next four years to house the Green Collection. The mission statement of the museum, however, as found in its 501(c)3 tax filings for 2011, the most recent year available, is "To bring to life the living Word of God, to tell its compelling story of preservation, and to inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible."[30] More recently, Green told a press conference that the Museum will focus on the Bible's impact, history and narrative, explaining that while he might hope that the museum would bring people to Christianity, the museum is not created as a tool of evangelizing, “We’re not discussing a lot of particulars of the book. It’s more of a high-level discussion of here’s this book, what is its history and impact and what is its story."[5]

The Greens identified Washington, DC, Dallas, and New York City as finalists for the museum's location.[31]

In July 2012, the Green Collection announced the purchase of the building housing the Washington Design Center in DC, for a reported $50 million, to house the as-yet-unnamed national Bible museum.[32][33][34][35] The building is located two blocks from the National Mall at 300 D. Street SW, near the Federal Center SW Metro station. The museum will reportedly charge admission, as do other private museums in Washington, such as the National Building Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the Newseum.[36]

The museum was constructed in the former Design Center, an historically protected Renaissance Revival building close to the National Mall and the United States Capitol.[4][5][37][38]


  1. ^ LaMonica, Gabe (April 5, 2011). "Eyeing a national museum, a collector's Bibles hits the road". CNN. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  2. ^ Grossman, Cathy Lynn (April 4, 2011). "High-tech museum to take scholarly view of Bible". USA Today. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  3. ^ Niemi, Carol (December 6, 2011). "'Passages' features rarest Bible artifacts in six-month run here". USA Today. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b Sheir, Rebecca. "D.C. Bible Museum Will Be Immersive Experience, Organizers Say". NPR. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c O'Connell, Jonathan (12 February 2015). "Even non-believers may want to visit the $400 million Museum of the Bible". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  6. ^ Parker, Loanne (28 March 2014). "Which Museums Show Real Promise?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  7. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (June 11, 2010). "Craft Shop Family Buys Up Ancient Bibles for Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Bible Collection Goes on Tour". Fox News. August 19, 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Green Collection boasts rare Bibles and more". USA Today. April 4, 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  10. ^ Vikan, Gary (30 October 2015). "Probe of Steve Green's antiquities may be inevitable; his response is not". Religion News Service. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  11. ^ Ouellette, Jennifer (2020-03-23). "All 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Museum of the Bible are fakes". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  12. ^ "‘Book of Books’ traces history of the Bible; An exhibit about Judaism and Christianity’s connection premieres at the Bible Lands Museum," Benji Rosen, Jerusalem Post, [1] [2]
  13. ^ Belz, Emily (April 1, 2011). "Love of the book". World Magazine. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  14. ^ Hinton, Carla (April 3, 2011). "OKC family's exhibit's collaboration with Vatican adds worldwide appeal". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Large Bible collection is premiered". Christian Retailing. March 31, 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  16. ^ Lackmeyer, Steve (April 3, 2011). "Passages exhibit expected to bring thousands downtown". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  17. ^ a b Ruggieri, Melissa (December 8, 2011). "'Passages' seeks to biblically enlighten". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  18. ^ McDonnell, Brandy (April 3, 2011). ""Passages" designed to bring interactive, all-ages experience to OKC Museum of Art". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  19. ^ Wilson, Karen (September 22, 2012). "Exhibit's rare artifacts help tell story of the Bible". Independent Tribune. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  20. ^ LeBlanc, Matthew (April 6, 2011). "Rare, priceless Bibles on display at Baylor". KYTX-CBS19. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  21. ^ Mardirosian, Jade (April 7, 2011). "Exhibit celebrates 400 years of famous Bible text". The Baylor Lariat. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  22. ^ "Rare, ancient manuscripts on display in Art Gallery". September 29, 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Traveling Exhibit of Biblical Manuscripts Coming to Gordon-Conwell". December 14, 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Samba, Augustine (September 20, 2011). "In Sierra Leone, Christians to Showcase 2000 Years Artefacts". Awareness Times. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  26. ^ O'Reilly, David (12 August 2015). "Exhibit of historic bibles, artifacts to precede pope's visit". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  27. ^ Tunney, Kelly (March 28, 2011). "Students to publish ancient text through Scholars Initiative". Kent Wired. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  28. ^ Brinkman, Lillie-Beth (April 3, 2011). "New discoveries may await in study of Green Collection of ancient biblical texts". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  29. ^ "Scholars & Staff". Green Scholars Initiative. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  30. ^ Caplan-Bricker, Nora (March 25, 2014). "The Hobby Lobby President Is Also Building a Bible Museum for Over $70 Million". The New Republic. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  31. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (July 10, 2012). "Bible museum planned for Washington, D.C." The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  32. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (July 28, 2012). "Washington D.C.: Bible Museum Closes $50 Million Deal For Spot Near National Mall". Religion News Service. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  33. ^ Sernovitz, Daniel (July 20, 2012). "Museum makes a divine acquisition". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  34. ^ Joynt, Carol Ross (July 31, 2012). "The Museum of the Bible to Replace the Washington Design Center". Washingtonian. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  35. ^ Beermann, Judith (July 30, 2012). "Divine Decor to Divine Inspiration: WDC Becomes Bible Museum". The Georgetown Dish. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  36. ^ McKay, Dominique (September 19, 2012). "D.C. Bible Museum Near National Mall Will Charge Admission". Roll Call. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  37. ^ DPA (13 February 2015). "Private Bible museum to be built in heart of Washington, D.C." Haaretz. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  38. ^ David Ferguson (July 17, 2014). "Hobby Lobby family: Our $800m D.C. Bible museum will save U.S. from 'very scary' future". Retrieved 2014-07-17.

External linksEdit