New Testament scholar David Trobisch is internationally recognized for his critical work on the Letters of Paul, the formation of the Christian Bible, and Bible manuscripts. He’s working with the Green family on acquisitions for the Museum of the Bible.
Now David Trobisch is employed by the Oklahoma-based Green family, one of the most famous conservative Christian families in America and founders of national retail chain Hobby Lobby stores. Trobisch is the director of the Green collection, more than 40,000-pieces of biblical artifacts and one of the largest in private hands. How is this possible?
Trobisch described the co-operation to Religion News Service as “two parties standing at opposite ends of the Christian spectrum talking to each other and working together. This almost never happens in the US.” He also named both himself and Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, as “Bible freaks.”
As the collection’s director David Trobisch advises the Greens on new acquisitions, identifies story lines for the collection’s traveling exhibits, supervises a team of some 30 scholars and curators from around the world and contributes to the upcoming Museum of the Bible, scheduled to open in 2017 in Washington, D.C., just off the National Mall.
Financed by the Green family, the museum will showcase selected pieces from the Green collection. In addition to enlarging, curating and cataloguing the trove, Trobisch participates in the conversation about which items will go into the museum, and how.
Steve Green envisioned the museum to Religion News as “nonsecretarian,” adding that “the Bible can speak for itself.” Trobisch said that it would be an enormous disappointment, if the museum were to be revealed to be “some kind of missionary activity.” He however foresees harmony and said that ideally the museum would present “story that is challenging, but that is not threatening, based on evidence we can show; and if we can’t show it, we keep quiet about it.”
Previously Trobisch has worked at a number of institutions as a professor and research consultant, including at the American and German Bible Societies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the University of Heidelberg and Yale Divinity School. He grew up speaking four languages in Cameroon, where his parents worked as Lutheran missionaries. Nowadays 56-year-old Trobisch splits his time between Germany, where his wife, son and two grandchildren life, and a home in Springfield, Missouri.