Scrolls and biblical manuscripts on display at the Custody of the Holy Land

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

Nov. 7, 2018 – An exhibition on the Bible hosted by the Custody of the Holy Land, brings together almost 40 parchments, manuscripts and ancient books.

The director of the Library of the Custody, Fr. Lionel Goh and the curator of the project, Prof. Edoardo Barbieri, spoke at the inauguration.

Fr. LIONEL GOH, ofm Director of the Library of the Custody of the Holy Land: “Although the Bible was born here, it has spread to other countries in Europe. When the Franciscans arrived to the Holy Land, they brought the biblical texts with them. Here, having to do with liturgical prayers, local communities and other churches, the biblical text began to grow. The texts we see on display in this exhibition are a good example of how vast the Bible is and how much work it required from the Franciscans to bring the Word of God to all the countries of this region during the past 800 years.”

Prof. EDOARDO BARBIERI Exhibition Curator: “What is the significance of this exhibition? The title says: The bible in movement, traditions and translations of the Bible. Precisely the Bible, because it tells the story of salvation, it is not a rigid text. It remains the same story but changing shape all the time … it is not afraid of changing linguistic form, the way it shows itself, it can be the simple text, a book, a parchment, it can be a comment, or it can be illustrated as well as not illustrated. There are so many varieties in the way the Bible can be seen.”

Prof. Edoardo indicates some of the most significant objects of the exhibition! “This is the piece that we have chosen to be shown as the symbol of the whole exhibition, we have reproduced it on the cover of the catalog published by ATS: it is a Gospel printed in Arabic, with an interlinear Latin translation, published in Rome in 1591.”

Prof. EDOARDO BARBIERI Exhibition Curator: “This is perhaps the most precious piece among those exhibited because it is a Bible published in Italian in 1493 in Venice. It is illustrated with woodcarvings and has been translated by a Camaldolese monk Nicolò Malermi. The first edition came out in 1471, before Luther was born, which means that the experience of the Bible translated into Italian precedes the Protestant Reformation.”

The extensive work is the result of a collaboration between the European Book Research Center, the Catholic University of Milan and the Pro Terra Sancta Association (ATS).

MARTINA MOLINO Student at the Catholic University of Milan: “A completely new place for me, a fascinating place, I’ve been here for less than a week and I feel really great! There is a lot of involvement from the human point of view in the organization of the exhibition, there is a lot of unity and cooperation!”

This statement is in full agreement with what Fr. Dobromir Jasztal, the Custodial Vicar of the Holy Land said. He explained how the exhibition, in addition to enhancing the ancient heritage, brings together scholars from different cultural, religious and linguistic experiences. Culture is capable of promoting sharing, encounter and dialogue!

PAOLO TIEZZI MAESTRI Municipal Councilor of Torrita di Siena: “It’s a cultural discussion, and when it comes to culture I think there are no more barriers, and if we talk about the book with a capital letter like the Bible, I cannot find words to say anything better!”

DANIELE NISSIL Pharmacist: “Naturally, our passion as collectors immediately united us and made us instant friends!”

In the Land where the Sacred Scriptures were born, the exhibition shows that these texts are alive and even with the passage of time they do not lose value … on the contrary!