The Hidden Gospels of Abba Garima, Treasures of the Ethiopian Highlands

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An exhibition on 'The Hidden Gospels of Abba Garima, Treasures of the Ethiopian Highland' in the Outreach Room, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies.

Now extended, weekdays, Monday 16 January 2017 – Friday 28 July 2017.

The gospels of Abba Garima have remained hidden for centuries in the Ethiopian highlands in the Abba Garima Monastery – which no woman may enter. According to tradition, God miraculously stopped the sun in the sky to allow saint Abba Garima to complete them in a single day. Their production has remained an enigma. Translated from Greek into Ethiopic, these gospels are the earliest testament of the lost art of the Christian culture of the Aksumite kingdom of Ethiopia, which flourished around AD 350–650. Their vivid, finely painted illuminations are at once familiar but also entirely exotic. By presenting, for the first time in public, all of the illuminated pages together in full colour, this photo-exhibition aims to stimulate greater awareness and further study of these remarkable books, which are amongst the earliest and most important of the rare illustrated gospels books to have survived from Antiquity.

The exhibition accompanies the publication of The Garima Gospels: Early Illuminated Gospel Books from Ethiopia, by Judith McKenzie, Francis Watson, Michael Gervers, et al., which places the Garima Gospels firmly within the historical and artistic contexts of the late antique Mediterranean world.

Organised by Judith McKenzie, Miranda Williams, and Foteini Spingou, with Michael Gervers’ photographs.

Sponsored by the Classics Faculty, the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, and the ERC Advanced Project, Monumental Art of the Christian and Early Islamic East, directed by Judith McKenzie.

Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm (on weekdays please phone (01865) 288391 to check hours, due to teaching).

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Public Engagement with Research

Contact name: Miranda Williams

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Audience: Open to all