I had the coolest day yesterday and have to share.
I met fellow writer/illustrators Liz Conrad and John Witkowski at the Emory University Carlos Museum where my incredibly knowledgeable writing buddy, Vicky Alvear Schecter took us on a tour of the Cradle of Christianity: Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Land exhibit.
Vicky is a docent at the museum and shared the show's incredible artifacts (Including a portion of the actual dead sea scrolls) through the eyes of a writer and storyteller (rather than a scientist). She did an amazing job of making what we viewed personal, relating the strength of people's faiths which often led to pilgrimages they didn't survive, the politics of the time which strongly impacted the formations of synagogues and the growth of Christianity, and the misconceptions and traditions which are still believed or carried out today.
For instance, do you remember hearing the hubub about "the ostuary (coffin) of Jesus" being found about a year ago? Well, it was there and it does say "Jesus, son of Joseph." But did you know "Jesus" was the fourth most popular name during that time, kind of like "John" or "Christopher" today? (This is an example of a very nice ostuary in the exhibit - no pictures allowed!)
No matter your faith, it was a fascinating time period and course of events. Vicky was especially qualified to lead us through this portion of history, as she has become an expert on the history of Cleopatra, the history of religions and politics, and of course, Alexander the Great. In fact, Vicky is the author of ALEXANDER THE GREAT ROCKS THE WORLD, a rollicking history of the impact this young warrior had on the world. She'll also be sharing more interesting history with us in a new book, but I'm not sure I can share much about that yet. You'll just have to keep an eye out for more books from my talented friend.
The exhibit has only been granted to three locations in the US and will probably never leave Israel again once it returns home. It is open through October 14, 2007 and I highly recommend it - especially if Vicky walks you through!
But our incredible day didn't stop there . . .