You’ve heard of Throwback Thursday? Well, this is Flashback Friday, the inaugural post of a hopefully weekly feature that will discuss topics from the past that I didn’t get around to writing about in a timely manner.
Three years ago, the New York Public Library hosted a magnificent exhibition titled Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, consisting of 200 religious texts. There were Torahs, Tanakhs, and Talmuds; Gospels and Epistles; Korans, Kabbalah, and keys to the unknown. Halahkah and Hadith; Midrash and medieval art; prayer books and legal interpretations; translations and commentaries. Calligraphy and illumination; woodcuts and bejeweling; scrolls of animal skins, and books of paper bound in silver, bound in gold. Possibly every expression of Abrahamic religious thought, from advice to Zohar, was on display, presented not in contrast, but in community. This is why I bring it here, albeit belatedly.
I didn’t even get to see everything, because it took so long to make my way around the Wachenheim Gallery of the Schwarzman Building—trying to take in the sites and sneak all this photography, which the library doesn’t permit—that closing time struck before I completed the circuit. (Although I did score a great parking spot right on 42nd Street, a personal best.)
Sorry for the blurred photographs; nearly everything was protected under glass, and—thanks to the photography ban—I had to be pretty quick. (Sorry NYPL, but there’s really no valid reason to prohibit non-flash photography.)
The captions below each photo contain solid information provided by the curator and, in certain cases, some of my own editorializing. Remember, if you want a closer look, click on the image for a larger portrayal.
do not do to your fellow;
this is the entire Torah.
The rest is but commentary.
|Mafatih al-Ghayb (Keys to the Unknown) — Transcribed by Muhammad al-Mawhib in Syria or Egypt, 1364. This volume contains commentary on the seventh through ninth suras of the Koran, cited in short segments, often a verse at a time.|
I shot more than 150 photographs, but you get the idea. This was a once-in-a-lifetime (at best) opportunity to enjoy centuries worth of treasures. I hope you enjoyed this too brief pictorial.