VATICAN CITY — Desecration, censorship, the ravages of time and even nesting mice have been unable to destroy the word of God, handed down for millennia by people of faith.
The endurance of sacred Scripture is the centerpiece of a new interfaith exhibit called Verbum Domini, which brings to the Vatican rare biblical texts and artifacts spanning a period from the third century B.C. to the 17th century.
"We seek to tell the amazing story of the preservation and translation of the most loved, most debated and the best-selling book every year and of all time," said Steve Green, an entrepreneur and the primary benefactor of The Green Collection, a private collection of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities.
Plans are under way to set up a permanent museum for a portion of the collection, ideally in Washington, D.C., he said.
He said the exhibition at the Vatican was inspired by "Verbum Domini" ("The Word of the Lord") — Pope Benedict XVI's reflection on the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Bible.
The show, which brought together about 100 items from The Green Collection and 50 items from other collections, opened to the public March 1 and will run until April 15 in the Vatican's Braccio di Carlo Magno — a hall next to St. Peter's Basilica.