Friday, March 9, 2012

The Word of the Lord (and the English Reformation)

Another Vatican exhibit: Verbum Domini. From the website:

Take a walk through the history of the Bible in this private collection of rare biblical texts and objects of enormous importance. Set in a highly contextual, interactive format, this exhibit celebrates the dramatic story of the Catholic contribution to the most-banned, most-debated, best selling book of all time.

Verbum Domini Highlights:
152 rare biblical texts and artifacts showcase the common biblical history of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Jewish faiths and the tens of thousands of believers who have died to access, preserve, translate and read them throughout the centuries, including:

~Codex Climaci Rescriptus—one of the earliest-surviving, near-complete Bibles containing the most extensive early biblical texts in Jesus’ household language of Palestinian Aramaic
~The Jeselsohn Stone or Gabriel’s revelation, a three foot tall, 150 pound sandstone tablet discovered near the Dead Sea in Jordan containing 87 lines of first century BCE Hebrew text
~The Blood and Body of Christ Being Real and Present in the Sacrament, a manuscript ascribed to Thomas More from 1534—written in Latin and containing numerous references to Scripture and the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation
~Richard Rolle’s Psalms, Canticles and Commentary—the earliest, most extensive surviving manuscript of the translation and commentary of Psalms and the Canticles in Middle English, composed 40 years before Wycliffe’s vernacular translation of Scripture
~Hagia Sophia Lectionary, a mid-11th century manuscript that contains Scripture readings alongside a list of ceremonies from the great Church of Hagia Sophia, the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the place where the emperor worshiped

The exhibit also includes:
Contextually-designed rooms transport visitors to historical settings of biblical and archaeological fame:
~A recreation of one of the caves at Qumran, Israel, which yielded the single-largest cache of Dead Sea Scrolls in 1954
~An inner room at Wartburg Castle where Martin Luther worked in exile on his translation of the Bible into German
~An excavation scene of an ancient Roman garbage city, Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt
~A scaled replication of Westminster Abbey’s Jerusalem Chamber, where the King James translation committee worked on the New Testament of the King James Bible
~A reproduction of Gutenberg’s print shop complete with a working replica of the Gutenberg press
~A scene from St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, where the earliest, near-complete Bible, Codex Sinaiticus, was found
~A Monastic Scriptorium, where manuscripts of the medieval period would have been copied, including one of the most influential translations of the Bible of all times—the Latin Vulgate
~A scaled replica of a mid-third century synagogue discovered in Syria
~A Middle Ages village highlighting the early translation of the Bible into common languages

And the exhibit is accompanied by a series of lectures.

The English Reformation connection shows up in a few of the galleries. Gallery Seven, focused on "The Bible and Reform", contains St. Thomas More's treatise on the Real Presence, written while he was in the Tower of London awaiting trial and execution. The same gallery contains works by St. John Fisher and William Tyndale, one of More's debate opponents. Gallery Eight, focused on the King James Bible, the Authorized Version, notes the influence of the Douai-Rheims translation of the Old and New Testament by English Catholics in exile on that incredibly popular and influential translation.

The National Catholic Register has this story with more detail. Between the Capitoline exhibition of archive materials and this exhibit--how many more excuses does one need for a trip to Rome!?

No comments:

Post a Comment