More than 75,000 people have visited the French Bible Society’s large-scale exhibition ‘The Bible, Heritage of Humanity’ since it was launched three years ago at UNESCO. Between February 5 and March 16, the exhibition is running in the city library in Marseille, France’s second-largest city. This venue attracts around 5,000 visitors daily.
Support from politicians
Local politicians’ support for and great enthusiasm about the exhibition will make a significant contribution to its success in Marseille.
“The exhibition ‘The Bible, Heritage of Humanity’ is being held here as part of the European Capital of Culture year,” says Arlette Fructus, Deputy Mayor of Marseille. “We were really keen for this exhibition to be one of the key elements, one of the high-profile cultural events.”
‘This makes a lot of sense in Marseille’
“This makes a lot of sense in Marseille,” she adds. “We feel strongly that living alongside other people means getting to know them, understanding them and being tolerant. The Bible is one of the foundational elements of humanity, it gives us clear guidelines and it must be made known and explained, as should all other sacred texts.”
The exhibition presents the Bible from cultural, historical and literary perspectives. This non-confessional approach is proving successful everywhere the exhibition is staged, ensuring that it is welcome in places of culture and learning.
Entering into the heart of culture
“It’s not a question here of the Bible as an element of the Christian faith, which would have been appropriate in other venues, but of an exhibition that is relevant to all the people of Marseille, presenting the Bible as an object of knowledge,” emphasised Christian Laget, Director General of Marseille’s libraries, at the opening of the exhibition.
“The Bible is a source of knowledge for individuals and of reassurance for the world,” said Daniel Hermann from the city’s Department of Culture. “Reading the Bible is also a way of experiencing life. It’s very important to read it.”
With the staging of the Bible exhibition in Marseille has come the publication of a catalogue, something which many visitors have requested over the last few years.
The catalogue takes up the exhibition’s six themes and also presents several possible angles for tackling the Bible: the origins of the Bible, the transmission of the Bible, Bible translation, the worlds of the Bible, the Bible and culture and a book of encounters. Each reader can choose the approach that he or she finds most interesting.
At the end of the catalogue, readers will find a wide range of resources designed to help them look at the Bible in more detail. These include a glossary, a bibliography and details of various Bible editions.
‘For everyone who has plans for their life’
We hear finally from Gérard Detaille, Vice-President of the Museum of Civilisations from Europe and the Mediterranean.
“The Bible is a spring from which we can refresh ourselves. It’s for all believers, it’s for everyone who has plans for their life.”