Father Justin

We went to a lecture by Father Justin of St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai last night as part of the Medieval Studies lecture series. Father Justin is the Librarian at St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was built by Justinian in the sixth century, and is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery in the world. His talk was on “Continuity and Change at Sinai from the Seventh to the Ninth Century: Insights from a Sinai Palimpsest.”  The palimpsest is a page from a set of manuscripts of the Epistles of St. Paul written in Greek with accompanying, parallel Arabic text from the 9th century. The manuscripts were left or forgotten in a room in the monastery where the roof collapsed and buried them. They were discovered in 1975 during renovations to the room. The manuscripts provide a great deal of information about the time when the Christian church in the Middle East was having to deal with the Islamic presence. Using modern photographic and digital technology, Father Justin has been able to not only study the writing that is currently on the manuscripts, but also enhance and make earlier text that had been erased legible so the previous writings can now be analyzed and studied, as well.

As we walked back to the car, I took a few photos of the buildings and features on campus. The architecture and lighting on UNM’s campus provide so many photo opts that I can’t recall setting foot on campus at night within the past four years without taking at least a half a dozen pictures.

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