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Over the millennia, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have each created a rich body of founding texts and interpretive underpinnings for their respective faiths, each of which derives from the teachings of Abraham. This exhibition treats these three great Abrahamic religions, setting forth in splendid and historic detail the complementarities and differences among them, explaining their development, and exploring their lived experience through public and private prayer.
Great works of the miniaturist’s art and of calligraphy, drawn from all three faiths, delight the eye, as they have done since their creation many centuries ago. Manuscript materials are accompanied by some of the most significant printed works of the past 550 years. The scrolls and codices are surrounded selectively by important bindings, early photographs, prints, maps, and liturgical or ritual objects.
Materials on display in Gottesman Hall range from the fifth century of the Common Era to the present, and include the magnificent Hebrew Bible written by Joseph of Xanten (on the Rhine north of Cologne) in 1294; the Harkness Gospels, written in Landévennec, Brittany, around the year 900; the Qur’an completed by Husayn ibn Hasan in Turkey or Persia in 1333; as well as fifth-century amulets discovered in Jewish tombs, 18th-century depictions of Mecca and Medina, a first edition (1611) of the King James Bible, 17th-century Armenian Gospels, and a 13th-century Samaritan Pentateuch.
In the Wachenheim Gallery—specially converted into a scriptorium—visitors may explore various physical aspects of The Book in its different incarnations.
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