As a Benedictine Oblate, it was with great joy that I read this article on the discovery of ancient relics, including one of our Holy Father, St. Benedict:
The new medieval gallery at the British Museum is full of beautiful images of saints in ivory, stone, gold and wood – but invisible to visitors, it also holds the bones of 39 real saints, whose discovery came as a shock to their curator.
The relics, packed in tiny bundles of cloth including one scrap of fabric over 1,000 years old, were found when a 12th-century German portable altar was opened for the first time since it came into the British Museum collection in 1902.
The most precious was the relic of St Benedict, an Italian who in the early 6th century was credited as the father of the western monastic tradition, founding monasteries and establishing guiding principles still followed at many monasteries. The relic was wrapped in cloth that was itself an extraordinary object, a piece of silk from 8th or 9th century Byzantium.
St. Benedict is one of the Patron Saints of Europe.
There are many reliquaries in the gallery, in the form of crosses, pendants and rings, including one owned by a saint, the Georgian queen Kethevan who was executed by Shah Abbas in 1624 for refusing to convert to Islam. (H/T)
I find it interesting that at a moment when Europe is strained socially, economically and spiritually, a relic of Benedict; Patron of Europe, turns up, as well as one from a martyr to an Islamic extremism that co-erced conversions.
There are no accidents, I don’t think.
More interesting stuff from the British Museum – albeit from November of 2008 – it seems The Tower of Babel is no myth*:
The story of the Tower of Babel stands at the heart of how we imagine architecture. . .but the British Museum’s show reveals it is a true story. The real Tower of Babel is the first thing you see as you enter the show – or rather you see its footprint. In an aerial photograph taken by Georg Gerster in 1973, the dark square mark of the tower’s foundations, and that of the staircase that ascended it, can be seen in bright dust near the fertile Euphrates. This is the site of the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq. That black square was left by a huge ziggurat, a tower whose width diminishes as it rises, invented by the architects of ancient Mesopotamia. The Bible even gets the material right: it was built of fired bricks. You can see one on display marked with the name of Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled Babylon in the sixth century BC.
And, most interestingly:
At the end of the show, the damage done to the archaeological site in the Iraq war is documented. The British Museum protested at the use of the site for a military base – the helicopters landing in the middle of such a precious site, the soldiers vandalising it in search of souvenirs. The images are chilling, as eerie and apocalyptic as anything in the show.
The site of the Tower of Babel was used as a military base in the 21st Century? Why didn’t I know that? How very interesting.
[*reader Elizabeth Anne corrects me, but hey, if there was one in the 6th century, I'm going to be open to there being one 'round 4,000 years ago! ;-)]
The reason I suppose I find it so, is because of some bizarrely coincidental emails I’ve received which mention the Tower of Babel and old Nimrod. I mean, when a thing crosses your desk in three completely unrelated ways in a matter of days, one should at least ponder it, a bit. In this case the Tower and Nimrod have crossed my desk repeatedly in the last few days – either through people who know nothing of one another and do not share the same interests or (in the last case) through my own stumblings. I found this bit on the British Museum exhibit thanks to the Benedict relic, which interested me.
Perhaps it’s only because I’m a believer, but that assertion seems like it should have been big news, doesn’t it?
So, a few days ago I had someone write to me regarding this exposition on Nimrod and the T of B, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. She wrote:
I’ve learned some tremendously liberating information about Nimrod, the tower of Babel and hunters (of men) among other details — all contained in nine little verses in Gen. 11. As taught to us last weekend by Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
1) It confirms that my fears and concerns and observations are not unique and not off-base.
2) It confirms that there is nothing new since Adam… every single story unfolding today is a remake of an ancient movie. Why that’s comforting I’m not exactly sure except it’s a reminder that the Bible, as always, contains the keys to understanding our problems as well as the keys to solving them.
3) The “Nimrod” thing is directly applicable to every breath we are taking right now. Nimrod was a real person — and — Nimrod was/is a concept. A very important, bold and enlightening concept. (The next Nimrod after No. 1, was Pharaoh.) As the Rabbi says, there is a Nimrod (or more) in every epoch. Nimrods are easy to spot if you are grounded in God’s truth. But they spam a lot of people every time they pop up. And of course they stand a much better chance of success in an anti-God atmosphere.
Nimrod never wins or completely succeeds. He is always struck down (though of course he can do a lot of damage on the way down). I found it reassuring when Lapin pointed out that people don’t actually vote for Nimrod or for socialist tyranny. They vote for “an end to world poverty” or some other fantastic lie that plays on their basic good instincts. And Nimrod knows he must conceal his true identity. He could never win if he told people he intended to enslave them to aggrandize himself.
Okay. Interesting stuff, and I admit I am curious to hear Rabbi Lapin’s ideas.
I guess I can see a similarity. The first writer added:
At the very end of the Genesis 11 teaching when Lapin ties everything together, he tells the gobsmackingly true story of the European Union Parliament building…you will find Wikipedia states that the Brueghel connection to this building is an “urban legend,” but Rabbi Lapin actually took the time to track down the architect’s own account, in which the man states he was specifically instructed by the EU-nicks to use Brueghel’s painting, Tower of Babel, as a design template.
Hmmmm…well, okay. Before I subscribe to a theory though, I guess I’ll need to hear/read Lapin some more.
You must understand, my mother – an obedient daughter of the Church most days – was prone to carry on about Edgar Cayce and End Times after a few belts of the Creature. I grew up listening to wide-eyed prognostications that “the end of the world is coming” and “so-and-so is Anti-Christ!” Having had my fill of that, whiskey stays in the bottle in this house, and I rarely dip a toe into that unknowable-lake-o’-wonder. When I do it is very carefully, with equal measures skepticism and trepidation.
The second person sending me the pics – who did not mention Rabbi Lapin – wondered if the EU building’s completion in 1999 was meant to ring in a “one world” era, and he told me to look at the lapel-jewelry Bill Clinton wore to the millennium celebrations. I have no idea what that all means, and while I do remember Clinton wearing what looked like the CBS “eye” pin on his lapel, its connections to the Tower of Babel more than escapes me.
Given the amount of email I’m getting, and the news coming at us with increased speed, this stuff slipped my mind very easily, until this showed up, from New Wineskins, written March 10. It is fascinating and difficult to excerpt – you really have to go read it. Obama, Israel, Nimrod, and a Shiite text of the 17th century. Yeah…a little mind-blowing.
The Census thing is all apiece with the entire thrust of Obama’s ascendancy: willful deception, starting with self.
I just ran across this quote from the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, commenting on Nimrod, the world’s first dictator and thought it might tickle a few ideas for folks in line with the rest of the post. Josephus writes:
Nimrod persuaded mankind not to ascribe their happiness to God, but to think that his own excellency was the source of it… he soon changed things into a tyranny, thinking there was no other way to wean men from the fear of God, than by making them rely upon his own power.
Remind you of anyone?
I am not a biblical scholar, and I make connections rather warily and then often very badly. But to have all of this coincidentally crossing my desk – as well as that whacky reverse tape, it became too irresistible; I had to share it. Since I am going to be out most of Thursday, I figure…ya’ll can amuse yourselves with it, do some googling, etc, so you won’t be bored.
See how thoughtful I am? I don’t go out without making sure you have something with which to keep busy!
Unrelated: Okie’s mind is blown
And an old Elton song: