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Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam


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.

 Petrus Paulus Porrus, 1516. Rare Book DivisionPsalterium, Hebraeum, Graecum, Arabicum, Chaldaeum (Genoa Psalter). Agostino Giustiniani, editor. Genoa: Petrus Paulus Porrus, 1516. Rare Book DivisionGreat 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 art of the book in its many incarnations.

To arrange a school group visit to Three Faiths and the Scriptorium please click here.

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Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam is cosponsored by Stavros Niarchos Foundation and The Coexist Foundation. Generous additional support was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Achelis and Bodman Foundations, and the Charles J. Mauro Fund. Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, Jonathan Altman, and Pannonia Foundation. Three Faiths was inspired by the British Library’s 2007 exhibition Sacred: Discover what we share.

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