Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green unveils ‘oldest Jewish prayer book ever found’

AUSTIN, Texas — Evangelical businessman Steve Green on Thursday (Oct. 26) unveiled what he called “the oldest Jewish prayer book … Continued

AUSTIN, Texas — Evangelical businessman Steve Green on Thursday (Oct. 26) unveiled what he called “the oldest Jewish prayer book ever found” and will add it to the collection of religious artifacts that will form the core of the Bible museum he is building in Washington, D.C.

The artifact, dating from 840 A.D., is written in Hebrew on parchment and shows Babylonian vowel marks. Green said it was purchased less than a year ago from a private collection and is of Middle Eastern origin. But he declined to name the seller or how much he paid for it.

About the size of a large smartphone, and 50 pages long, the seller likely knew the book was special but did not realize its significance, said Jerry Pattengale, executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, the research arm of The Green Collection.

The prayerbook — a rare complete codex in its original tan-colored binding — includes a listing of the 100 Benedictions, or blessings that some observant Jews say daily.

It may well be the “earliest connection today’s practicing Jews have to the roots of their modern-day rabbinic liturgy,” Green said.

Green, whose billionaire family owns the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby chain of more then 550 craft stores — made the announcement at the annual meeting of the Religion Newswriters Association.

Green has made headlines recently for his lawsuit against a federal mandate that would require most employers to provide free birth control and the so-called morning-after pill in their health insurance plans. The case appears headed to the Supreme Court.

In 2009, he founded The Green Collection, which now includes more than 40,000 ancient artifacts. They will be housed in a Bible museum planned for a site just south of the U.S. Capitol, slated to open in 2017.

Green reiterated his belief that the Bible is a foundation of the nation’s success — 94 percent of U.S. households have at least one Bible, he said, despite a tremendous “brain drain” of biblical knowledge.

“Our desire is to have a nonsectarian museum that tells this book’s story and let you decide what you do with it,” he said of his yet-to-be-named museum.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • 4theduke

    Surprising article considering Mr. Green does not sell one Jewish item in his stores. Go into one of them and see if they have any Chanukah items. None….

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.