The Book of Kells-'Turning Darkness into Light'. We had the opportunity to see the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College in Dublin. The Book of Kells contains a lavishly decorated copy, in Latin, of the four gospels thought to have been produced by monks in the 9th century. I loved seeing the signs for the exhibit stating- 'turning darkness into light'; such a comission to undertake! The artwork, detail, and labor undertaken to produce these copies of the gospels was extraordanary and stunning.
The highlight for me was the last room of the exhibit where two pages of the book were exhibited. To stand and gaze at this work of art made over 1,000 years ago...opened to the Book of John, chapter one. It is in Latin, so a card next to the page stated part of the translation. It read like this..."In the beginning was the Word,..." that was all the translation given and as I stood there gazing on it, shoulder to shoulder with other tourists perusing the offerings on display that day, I was electrified by the thought of the link I as a believer hold with all the other believers today and all of the other believers through the ages and these monks over 1,000 years ago who loved these words.
I wanted to ask, "do you know the rest?
It's God made music,
God made visible, God spoken... say it with me..."
"In the beginning...was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
The other page displayed was this artwork page (pictured above) of the four evangelists. Sky was able to share with some ladies the symbolism behind the artwork for each gospel.
This was how I understood his remarks; For Matthew-the lion- symbolizes the king savior. The book of Matthew centering on the kingdom of the heavens and emphasizing the kingly line of David. For Mark-the ox-symbolizes the slave savior. No lineage given in this gospel because slaves have no history. Christ is shown doing the will of the father in this gospel. For Luke-a man-symbolizing the man-savior and lineage given of the line of Adam to Christ. For John-the eagle- symbolizing the God-Savior and no lineage given because "In the beginning was God..".
Again, it was stunning to realize the link we have to the monks who labored to illustrate the truths of the gospels. The signs for the exhibit were so relevant in these dark times, 'turning darkness into light'. It was a really exciting visit for us. The homeschool mom in me was immediately excited over the possibilities of a unit study on illuminated books, begun with readings on monks, the reformation, Guttenburg, library books on illuminated writings-followed by purchase of a calligraphy set to illuminate our own books...you can see where this is going...I run around in circles much of the time. Four months later we would finally get to the book of Kells... (so, how many steps does it take for a homeschool family to change a lightbulb????)