Monday, 7 May 2007

British Library: Sacred


This post may have nothing to do with photography, but is all about the courage of the British Library in exhibiting a collection of sacred texts side by side for the first time which reveals the similarities between the world's major religions, and the creativity of those who have practiced them.

Joining the throng of visitors who flocked to the British Library to view Sacred, the exhibit currently being buzzed about in the British press, I was pleased to see men in yarmulkes, women in veils and others...and lots of families with their children.

In Sacred, the Books of the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam - the British Library has decided to make the aim of the exhibition - the first, apparently, of a series - not only the diversity of faiths in Britain but also to illustrate how much the main faiths have in common. We need to be constantly reminded how alike these monotheist faiths are, and how they all sprang from the same small area with the same customs, values and theology. As far as I'm concerned it succeeded, and reaffirmed my long-held belief that all religions are one and the same.

One of the most fascinating exhibits is an ancient Gospel written in Arabic whose opening verse reads "In the name of Allah...". Incredible but true. I wonder how our reactionary religious fundamentalists can spin this?

And will the Metropolitan Museum or the New York Public Library ever have the intellectual courage, and brave the public's prejudices to mount a similar exhibition in New York City?

For those who won't have the chance to visit London this summer, here's the British Library's website for the exhibit.