Censorship on Display in Bridwell Library

December 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Joey Richardson

Censorship is on display in Bridwell library. Books with pages torn out and words crossed out occupy three large rooms in the Bridwell Library of Southern Methodist University.

The books date back to the 15th century. Each book in the collection was either the victim of censorship by the church or tools of the church to enforce the censorship.

“Heresy and Error: The Ecclesiastical Censorship of Books 1400-1800” is a current exhibit in the Bridwell Library of SMU. There are 62 books in the collection and the library owns them all.

This Bible is a part of the "Heresy and Error: The Ecclesiastical Censorship of Books 1400-1800" display at the Bridwell Library. (PHOTO BY JOEY RICHARDSON / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Eric White is the Curator of Special Collections at the Bridwell Library. He spent a year researching and designing the exhibit. He feels that the exhibits at Bridwells are very important. “The exhibits show that these artifacts exist and aren’t hidden somewhere in Europe.”

White went on to say that the books in the exhibit highlight the controversy of books themselves. He also said that the exhibit is not meant in any way to be anti-Catholic. “It’s just to show what history gives us,” he said.

Jane Lenz Elder is a reference librarian in the Bridwell Library. She said that the exhibit is important because the invention of movable type is similar to the invention of the Internet. “When the Internet started, people did all this wonderful stuff and it changed the way we approach information,” she said. “But the downside was it made all sorts of bad things easily accessible.”

She went on to say that the church was trying to guide people in their search for knowledge and information. “Just like we had to learn in the late 90′s and early 2000′s to be careful about what words we put into a search engine,” she said.

William Elder is a student worker at the Bridwell library. He feels that the exhibit is important because it shows how far we have come. “How much we allow today shows how much better things are now and it shows how morals and perceptions of morals have changed.”

White also said that there are still echoes of censorship today. “Every once in a while someone will claim to have authority over the press, but they don’t,” he said.

He went on to say, “It’s great to learn about what was being read and prohibited.

The collection of banned books will be on display until December 17, 2010.

Sultans and Saints: Spain’s Confluence of Cultures

September 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Ariana Garza

Meadows Museum is featuring an exhibition titled Sultans and Saints: Spain’s Confluence of Cultures through January 23, 2011. The exhibition centers on the era of Spain’s convivencia in which Jews, Christians and Muslims coexisted after the Muslim Umayyad conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711.

The exhibition features a marble capital taken from the Islamic palace known as the Madinat al-Sahra’. Perched in a nearby case is a “hispano-moresque charger”—a lusterware ceramic—on which the first few lines of John’s Gospel are written. This particular piece of art was made in the 1500s—a time when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had suppressed the Muslims and the Jews. However, this ceramic is an example of Muslim influence in Spain as it is a type of eastern, traditional metallic-glazed pottery that the Muslim artisans introduced to Spain circa the 10th century.

The exhibition features what is referred to as a Catalan liturgical cabinet (1375-1400) constructed from poplar wood to be a Eucharistic container. This piece also contains a “mudejar” ornament on the outer face of each door, a subtle hint of Islamic influence.

The original writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits who later became the Society of Jesus under Pope Paul III, are on display courtesy of the Perkins School of Theology and Bridwell Library. Also on display are translations of a Latin medical book and the six volume “Complutensian Polyglot Bible” of the Counter Reformation. In the same room, the “Nobiliario Perfetamente Copilado” is on display. This is the first Spanish printed secular treatise on heraldry after the 15th century.

In the next room, a large Catholic choir book, “Gradual”, is on display. This hymn book dates back to the 16th century and was used for the celebration of High Mass, a scene from El Greco’s Pentecost altarpiece.

As a parallel exhibit, Meadows Museum is featuring one of the six paintings of El Greco’s Pentecost altarpiece. This piece is on loan from the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. Starting this year and continuing for the next three years, the Prado will lend a piece to Meadows Museum. This is an unprecedented exchange program for Meadows Museum and the El Greco piece will be returned to the Prado in Feburary 2011. Meadows Museum does not know if the exchange will be renewed after the three-year period.

“Hopefully something will continue,” Nicole Atzbach, a Meadows Museum spokeswoman said.

Meadows Museum is open 10-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours on Thursday and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Braithwaite Rosary Collection At Bridwell Library

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

A hinged clam shell case and matching rosary made of Mother-of-pearl beads and heart with silver a crucifix. (PHOTO BY AILEEN GARCIA / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Part of the rosary collection displayed at Bridwell Library. (PHOTO BY AILEEN GARCIA / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

By Aileen Garcia

The Perkins School of Theology is showcasing rosaries from the Bridget Anne Braithwaite collection until Dec. 12. The collection was donated in June 2008 and exhibits 15 rosaries from various regions of the 19th and 20th century.

The small portion of the 324-rosary collection was donated to SMU in honor of Philip and Barbara Braithwaite’s daughter Bridget, and is located in the Bridwell Library entry hall.

A rosary is a set of prayer beads used in traditional Catholic devotion. The beads act as a guide to tell people how many Hail Marys are recited during prayer. A Catholic rosary has 59 beads separated by sections. Every section of beads contains 10 smaller beads for the recital of the Hail Marys and the larger beads serve as dividers for the Our Fathers.

As famously being quoted Ms. Braithwaite once said, “It isn’t the value of the rosaries that is inspiring, but the hands that prayed them.”

Spring Arts Weekend Comes To a Close

March 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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