Religious Texts Show Common Heritage

Celebrating the commonalities between three monotheistic faiths, the British Library is showcasing rare and precious texts of the holy books.

Religious Texts Show Common Heritage
Celebrating the commonalities between three monotheistic faiths, the British Library is showcasing rare and precious texts of the Islamic, Christian and Jewish holy books, The Guardian reported on Thursday, April 26.

"We were determined not to create faith zones, but to show these wonderful manuscripts side by side, and demonstrate how much we share - not least that these are three faiths founded on sacred texts, books of revelation," said Graham Shaw, the lead curator.

"There is a textual link that can be studied in the exhibition."

The exhibition, "Sacred: Discover What We Share", will be opened Friday, April 27, and go on for five months.

It demonstrates how calligraphers and manuscript illuminators shared influences and styles.

The microscopically detailed decorated capital letters of Lindisfarne Gospels are echoed in Islamic and Jewish manuscripts while Christian and Jewish texts borrowed Islamic-inspired decoration.

A 14th century Qur'an and a translation of the gospels into Arabic are indistinguishable at a glance.

The library believes the show will be an interesting event to the world's Christians, Muslims and Jews who together make up more than half of the global population.

Treasures

The exhibition will showcase the British Library's own collection as well as treasures borrowed from other international centers, said The Independent.

It exhibition features some of the world's earliest surviving religious texts from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths for the first time.

Some 230 rare and beautiful pieces are displayed including many illustrated books and manuscripts never, or seldom, seen on public display.

This includes the Codex London, one of the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Tawrah, and the Syriac Pentateuch, the earliest known dated Biblical manuscript.

Also on display is the Sultan Baybars Qur'an, written in gold in seven folio volumes in the early 14th Century.

Scholars now describe it as one of the world's oldest, most dazzling Qurans.

An embroidered 19th-century curtain which once covered the door of the Ka`bah will also be shown.

The texts, amulets and other items are organized by themes — such as worship and holy places — rather than by religion.

Shaw believes the event will contribute to the greater understanding of the three monotheistic and their significance in today's world.

"These religions are very powerful forces in the world today. The more we understand the better."
Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2007, 11:00
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