Considerations of language and calligraphy

Ceiling paintings

I am at the stage now when I am adding text to the images. Each of the Semitic religions places great emphasis on the written word. Each believe that their sacred text has been divinely inspired, and contains instructions for living that every believer should follow. They are ‘doctrinaire’ religions that require obedience and belief.

 

This small image on one corner of the main panel shows an angel looking over the shoulder of a writer.

I am beginning to introduce Hebrew into the gown of the rabbi figure, Greek into the christian’s gown and Arabic into that of the Muslim. As I do so I am exploring the relationship between the three texts. I find, for example, that the Hebrew we are familiar with in Jewish texts developed in Babylon during the exiles starting in 587BC. Old Hebrew or Samaritan Hebrew has been included in the writing because it  links the early Jews to a larger linguistic group that included the Phoenicians. It is thought that their spoken language was nearly identical.

This small area contains examples of the old Hebrew. This is almost identical with written Phoenician, and may have influenced, or been influenced by Greek.

In this same spirit I will add  some cuneiform script to reference the fact that some of the ancient stories in the old testament, the Torah, are much older. The story of Noah, for example, has counterparts throughout Mesopotamia and many references has been found in cuneiform libraries that are much older than the hebrew texts.

 

The Christian has text written in Greek, because the earliest extant bibles were written in that language. I have imitated the text of the Codex Sinaiticus, now one of the treasures of the National Library. The Hebrew text is also included in this region because of the huge debt owed by the Christian sacred text to the Torah.

Likewise the Hebrew, and a little Greek, must be included in the robes of the Muslim, referencing the influences of both earlier roots.