The Anglo-Ethiopian Society
Study Visit - The Hidden Gospels of Abba Garima, Treasures of the Ethiopian Highlands
Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson
Saturday 8th April 2017
10:30am to 5:00pm, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LU (all welcome)
10.30-11.00 Registration and morning tea
11.00-12.00 Judith McKenzie (Oxford), The Garima Illuminations: From Architecture to Evangelists
12.00-1.30 Lunch (provided)
1.30-2.30 Francis Watson (Durham), The Garima Canon Tables: Icons of Harmony
2.30-3.00 Afternoon tea
3.00-5.00 Bodleian Treasures: Early Ethiopian Bible Illumination. At 3.00 pm head over to the Bodleian Library to see a special exhibition of some of its Ethiopian manuscripts in the Weston Library, on Broad Street, which closes at 5.00 pm.
The Garima Gospels 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 three gospel books 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. All the illuminated pages are presented together in full colour for the first time in this photo-exhibition. These remarkable books are amongst the earliest and most important of the rare illustrated gospels books to have survived from Antiquity. (They are the gospel books on which the Ethiopian Heritage Fund sponsored repairs and Carbon-14 dates.)
The exhibition accompanies the publication of The Garima Gospels: Early Illuminated Gospel Books from Ethiopia, by Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson, with Michael Gervers, et al., which places the Garima Gospels firmly within the historical and artistic contexts of the late antique Mediterranean world, as described by Christopher Howse in The Telegraph. Copies of the book will be for sale on 8 April.
Organised by Judith McKenzie, Miranda Williams, and Foteini Spingou, with Michael Gervers' photographs. Bodleian Library display organised by Rahel Fronda.