The Opera House of Vienna

One of the regular things one is often told is don’t miss the opera house tour, when one comes to Vienna. The opera house had to be reconstructed after WWII because the front one third of it was blown up by an Allied bomb. All is well now however, and the tour is indeed worth it. Opera was out of due season when we were there, so we did not take in a performance. First of all this opera house… Read more

Viennese Torte and Retort

Vienna is a town of endless cafes, restaurants, sweet shops, curiosity shops, and culture of all sorts. For example….. Even Mozart is trying to talk you into eating sweets!! And if you don’t Mozart gives you his bitter beer face. I’d be fibbing, ala Pinnochio, if I told you these desserts weren’t good…. Shoot there is even a Mozart cafe on the back side of the opera house which will serve you these things..and a Viennese coffee…. This cafe is… Read more

The Churches of Vienna

There was not world enough and time to visit all the significant churches in Vienna, not even all of the ones in the old city. So we had to settle for a few. Let’s start with the one our friend and former student Christa Abhar took us to for a delightful Mozart Requiem concert….. The name of this church is Karlskirche, and it was built by Franz Joseph the Emperor, who loved both Greco-Roman architecture and Christian architecture so he… Read more

The Ephesos Museum in Vienna– the Friezes and Temple front

This shot looks down the wing of the museum from the Temple front back towards the bronze statue of the athlete and gives you some sense of the size of the hall, and the length of the friezes. These remains were transported from Ephesus to Vienna between 1878 and 1906. Our guide stressed it was done legally and with permission of the government at that time (Sultan Abdul Hamid in this case). Whether it was ethical is another matter. But… Read more

The Kunsthistorische Museum– Greco-Roman Holdings

The problem with ginormous museums is it takes several visits to soak it all in. After two or three hours you begin to glaze over and not take in the remarkable things to see. Sometimes you end up dashing around to no good end. In our case, we had to visit the museum several times between sessions at the University of Wien (Vienna) for the SBL International Meeting where I gave a lecture on Jesus the Sage. Wien is the… Read more

Interstellar– Lots of Stars, not so Stellar

There is a difference between a sci-fi movie, and a science future movie. The former does not need to be concerned about the actual constraints of reality or science as we know it, it can just let its imagination run wild. But a science future movie on the other hand is supposed to have a certain degree of plausibility to it, like something that can barely be seen on the horizon, but is nonetheless within reach in the not so… Read more

The Kunsthistorische Museum— The Egyptian Collection

There is a very nice collection of largely Egyptian (and Sumerian) artifacts in the Kunst Museum, including a recreation of the ceiling and feeling of an Egyptian royal tomb, in the room see above. Hieroglyphics are always interesting and here is a stele about an Egyptian priest of the god Ptah. There is in addition a sarcophagus of a priest as well of black onyx, inscribed almost everywhere. Here we have perhaps the oldest manuscript in all of the museum,… Read more

The Story Behind the Lightfoot Legacy series— A Narnia like Tale

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The Kunsthistorische Museum– The Christian Art, Part Two

Never say there is no profit in going to an art museum. Here in fact are busts of lots of famous Biblical prophets. These busts were made of the seven (OT) prophets by the delle Masegne brothers in Venice in about 1400. There are too many spectacular renderings of various Biblical scenes including especially the passion of Jesus, in too many media, to show them all to you, but here are some of the most impressive… First the archangel Michael… Read more

The Kunsthistorische Museum— the Christian Art

There is a lot of interesting things in the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna, not least its Christian art collection and substantial Greco-Roman and ANE holdings. This post will deal with the former of these. Certainly one of the most famous paintings in the museum of relevance to Biblical studies is the painting by Bruegel of the Tower of Babel. Bruegel had visited Rome in 1552-53 and studied that other major symbol of hubris (from a Christian viewpoint), the Roman colosseum… Read more

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