At the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore archeological treasures from the Bible. Our visit will help us better understand the Book which is central to the three Abrahamic faiths and which is an important part of the shared cultural history of the world. One of our guests called it "a wonderful tour. . . highly recommended."
Interested in Biblical Archeology but not visiting New York City any time
soon? Contact us at MelLehman89@gmail.com for a virtual tour!
Father Abraham and Mother Sarah came from Ur which was the leading city-state of ancient Sumer. "History Begins at Sumer," according to a book by noted historian Samuel Kramer. This necklace was made 4,500 years ago and found in a royal tomb in present-day Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley, husband of novelist Agatha Christy.
Stand in the royal reception room of Ashurnasurpal II who ruled Assyria from 883 to 859 BCE and you'll better understand why Jonah tried to avoid going there and instead ended up in the belly of a whale.
The Christmas story began when "there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." His bust gives a sense of the relatively peaceful era of Pax Romana at the time.
When John the Divine, the author of the Book of Revelations, wrote to the church at Sardis, the Christian church was a new start-up. Most of the established citizens in town worshipped at the temple of Artemis, one of the columns of which is at the right. When speaking at a temple to the same goddess in Ephesus, St. Paul nearly started a riot.
Photos from Mel Lehman except photo of necklace from Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Many historians believe the Exodus took place during the reign of Ramses II. This giant statue of a pharaoh was originally carved around 1900 BCE. Over 600 years later it was re-worked into an image of himself with an inscription by Ramses II (ca. 1279-1213 BCE).
When the leading citizens in Jerusalem were taken in captivity to Babylon in 587 BCE, they passed this mushhushu dragon on the Ishtar Gate as they entered the city. The dragon was believed to have magical powers.
When the Holy Family fled to Egypt, they would have met people who looked like this young man, whose remarkably life-like image was painted in the realistic Roman style.
Quotes from tour participants:
"I took a tour with Mel and learned a great deal about the ancient world in the time of the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets. Of special interest were Mel’s stories from his many humanitarian visits to the Middle East. It’s hard to go wrong with a guy who’s been to the Garden of Eden (according to the locals near Ur, Iraq.)"
-Patrick Bringley former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a Met museum guard and author of the forthcoming Simon & Schuster book "All the Beauty in the World."
+ + + + +
"I highly recommend Mel Lehman’s tour of Biblical Archaeology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have been on many tours. Giving a tour with the right amount of energy, enthusiasm, and comprehensive knowledge is not easy. Mel has nailed it.
"His enthusiasm for Biblical Archaeology was evident throughout the two-hour tour. Mel knows a lot about religion in general, and the Bible in particular. It was an excellent blend of tourist-friendly “light information” and a deep dive into history.
"Mel’s tour takes you to a variety of galleries inside the museum, but Mel keeps them organized with a chronological thread that is easy to follow. This is further aided by a multi page handout that is a good reference tool for following that chronology. The Metropolitan can be overwhelming as a museum: having a confident and knowledgeable guide like Mel is a great help. Artifacts that I would have easily overlooked take on a new significance with his insights.
"Maybe the most important thing is that Mel is a genuinely friendly person. He wants to know about the people he is taking on the tour and engage them in conversation. This makes the experience all the more personal."
+ + + + +
"Mel Lehman leads a wonderful tour. He is super knowledgeable, gleaning a wealth of information from his many travels to the Middle East. He also interjects some humor and trivial tidbits to spice things up. Highly recommended."
+ + + + +
"Taking a tour at the Met with Mel Lehman is so enriching and eye-opening. I recommend it. I didn't know any of these things he so kindly and generously pointed out to our group. Fascinating!! I have previously been to the museum so many times. This was the most helpful and interesting because of Mel's excellent explanations and insight. He is knowledgeable and able to give depth, partly because of his many travels, historical interest and Biblical research. So worth it! A guide is important."
-Carla Marie Rupp, New York City. Member of Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship church
* * * *
Prices and Visitor Guidelines
Price: 1 - 4 participants: $25 apiece*
5 - 10 participants: $125 per group*
*Note: this price does not include admission to the Met which is valid all day.
$25 adults, $17 seniors, $12 students, children under 12 free. Mel Lehman
will purchase your ticket for you.
As of June, '22, all visitors 2 years old and over are required to wear masks. More at Met website.
Your Tour Guide, Mel Lehman,
holds Masters Degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. He has traveled frequently to the Middle East and visited numerous ancient sites there including Babylon, above right. He is Director of Common Humanity, a non-profit humanitarian peacemaking organization which uses art to build understanding, respect and friendship between people in the U.S. and the Middle East and Muslim world. He is a Mennonite deacon in his home congregation and occasionally serves as a lay preacher. He is a licensed New York City tour guide and has welcomed visitors from around the world for over a decade. He received an exemplary score on his licensing test. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org