Quayle Bible exhibit features matriarchs from Genesis


Claire Sullivan

Image by Claire Sullivan.

Story by Claire Sullivan, Writer

A new exhibit titled “More Than Matriarchs: Women in the Book of Genesis” is currently on display as a special exhibit of the Quayle Bible Collection in the Collins Library. The exhibit is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through July 30, 2017.

The exhibit is about important women from the Book of Genesis. Ten glass cases are dedicated to each of the matriarchs, placed in chronological order: The Torah Scroll and Lilith; Eve; Sarah; Hagar/Hajar; Rebekah; Leah and Rachel; Bilhah and Zilpah; Dinah; Tamar; and Mrs. Potiphar. The room also displays a few banners that showcase other women from the Book of Genesis, such as the wives of both Noah and Joseph.

“I like that [the exhibit] actually talks about something that really isn’t talked about,” sophomore Blythe Smith, who works in the Quayle Bible Collection, said. “A lot of people don’t talk about women in the Bible except for Eve, even though there’s a lot of important Bible stories that do have women, and they are the main characters.”

The exhibit was planned by students in Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Nicholaus Pumphrey’s course titled “Women of the Book of Genesis” which he taught last spring. The students who helped prepare the exhibit are Abdullah Alrashed, Brittney Harmon, Anna Hobbs, Jessie Holmes, Emi Kniffen, Caleb Lee and Caitlyn Lawson.

“It helps brings students into the Quayle if we get the students to design the exhibit,” Pumphrey said.

Senior Anna Hobbs works in the Quayle Bible Collection as well as being one of the students who was behind the exhibit. She got to look through the books and chose parts of pictures and scriptures that would be showcased in the exhibit.

“I like having access to different Bibles because there so many different translations and there’s different languages,” Hobbs said. “Some of them have really beautiful pictures. Some of them the writing is really pretty, and I find enjoyment out of being around old things that have historical beauty and value.”

Hobbs organized the “The Torah Scroll and Lilith” case, which is about Adam’s first wife Lilith.

Hobbs looked through Bibles for translations for Lilith. She said it was hard to find translations since Lilith’s name also means “devil” which made the research difficult. Many people believe that the serpent in the beginning of Genesis was Lilith.

Hobbs likes this exhibit “because it’s very matriarch-centric.”

“It’s focused on women when a lot of the Bible is focused on men and men doing great things,” she said. “People don’t always look at how important the women are.”

Pumphrey said his favorite part about being the curator is that the Quayle Bible Collection has a lot of interesting texts “that haven’t had adequate research done on them.”

Pumphrey says that he keeps referring to those texts as gems.

“I jumped at the opportunity to get in there,” Pumphrey said. “There’s so much opportunity in the Quayle for doing research and showing the people at Baker, or even the people in Baldwin City, that they sort of have this hidden resource just right underneath their noses.”