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Melanie Royals

Three Faiths at the New York Public Library

In the spirit of the season I have a tip to share: On a November trip to New York City, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a uniquely beautiful and educational exhibit at the New York Public Library called Three Faiths. It is running through February 27th and I highly recommend it if you are in the neighborhood. That neighborhood would be midtown Manhattan-5th Ave.

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From a review in the New York Times.

Out of many, one. That could well be the motto of this ambitious exhibition. It focuses on “the three Abrahamic religions” — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — each of which takes as a forebear an “itinerant herdsman” of the Middle East, Abraham, who affirmed belief in a single God. As the show puts it, Abraham rejected “the religions of antiquity with their plethora of gods, each imbued with a particular attribute, purpose and power,” replacing the many with the one.

The Abrahamic religions share other characteristics as well. Each believes that God has made himself known to his prophets through acts of revelation. And such revelations shape groups of believers by being incorporated in canonical written texts: the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Gospels, the Islamic Koran.

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Personally, I found it very moving and enlightening, and the level of artistic skill and craftsmanship in the creation of the ancient religious texts is incomparable. The NYC Library itself is an architectural gem with its elaborately carved coffer ceilings, marble walls,  and ceiling murals in the reading rooms. It’s worth a visit just to wander the halls, but if you can catch this free exhibit, even better!

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