UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 26, 2008

Déjà vu: Siegburg and Babylon

Filed under Life in Europe

When I got to the Siegburg train station this morning for the trip to Berlin, I thought it was last Saturday morning all over again, as Yogi Berra might have said.

As I got out of the car I again heard announcements about train delays. But this time it was only in one direction, from Cologne to Siegburg. The trains running the other way – my direction of travel – were on time. So in Cologne I was able to make my connection to Berlin. On the way to Berlin I heard that German police had arrested two suspected terrorists at the Cologne-Bonn airport as they waited to depart on a KLM flight to Amsterdam, the same flight I have taken several times in the past. Nothing like a little excitement.

This afternoon I visited the famous Pergamon Museum in Berlin. I have been there several times before, but I wanted to see the special Babylon exhibit. Babylon lion The museum describes the exhibition this way: "An exhibition of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Musée du Louvre and the Réunion des musées nationaux in Paris, as well as the British Museum in London, on view in the Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island. Babylon – myth, city, legend and truth. Vivid associations, which no other city can quite evoke as strongly in our minds. With this major exhibition, the [participating] museums venture to explore the myth of Babel and the true facts surrounding the ancient city of Babylon: two worlds – one exhibition."

The historical section was quite interesting. I found the other section on the myth aspect to be highly subjective, and my impression was that an attempt was made to say that Babylon may not have been so bad after all and that some – perhaps most – of our negative associations came from the Bible, when in reality it wasn’t so bad for those captive Jews after all.

This is the largest single collection of Babylon artifacts ever assembled, thanks to the cooperation among the participating museums. My competent colleague Jesmina Allaoua saw this exhibition last month and wanted UCG editorial staff to see it, too, but apparently it is not so easy for them to get permission and funding to attend a unique world class exhibition of particular historical value to our understanding of Bible history.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: