Particularly poignant in a time of growing friction between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, and the destruction of so many priceless artefacts in Syria and Afghanistan, this British Museum exhibition isn't what you would expect and is hugely important to see.
The main drive of this exhibition is the argument that these groups have lived peacefully side-by-side, peppered (of course) with sparks of violence. Documents detailing collaborative work and recommendations reveal this fascinating fact. Even Roman and ancient Egyptian iconography weaves together in examples such as the sculpture of the Egyptian falcon-headed god Horus dressed in Roman military costume.
The tale begins in ancient Egypt just after the death of the tragic lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony, through the rise of Christianity and the Romans to the Islamic Fatimid dynasty. We also discover how greatly religious beliefs affected everyday life, from the colourful garments people wore to how they decorated their homes.
Many of the objects have never been displayed before, but the big draw of this show is the world's oldest bible, which has only left its home at the British Library during the Second World War and in 1990 when it was previously lent to the British Museum.
As one of the most important books in the world, the codex contains the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament. Curiously the text has 27,000 corrects in it, scrawled on the edges of the beautiful pages by four scribes. You'll also find key objects from the British Museum collections as well as Hebrew and Museum texts nearby like the Bodleian Library's copy of the Qur'an.
With the story of conflict between religious communities embedded in our news stories, this exhibition makes clear how these massive transitions in Egypt have shaped the modern world.
|What||Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs, British Museum|
|Where||British Museum, Great Russell St, London, WC1B 3DG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
29 Oct 15 – 07 Feb 16, Museum galleries are open daily 10.00–17.30, and most are open until 20.30 on Fridays
|Price||£10, under 16s free|
|Website||Click here for more details|