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Merry Christmas

Chi Ro.jpgWhile Europe struggled through the Dark Ages, in a distant corner of the Continent Irish monks produced illuminated books and other works of art that carried on a tradition under siege everywhere else. The Book of Kells is the apotheosis of that effort. Below is the magnificent Chi Rho page, Chi and Rho being the first two letters in Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet.

Chi Rho.jpg

Art historians date The Book of Kells toward 800 AD — yes, that’s AD. I hope that you will accept the use of the traditional signifier. This space eschews CE and BCE to describe annual dates. If the numeral that you use to describe a year is counted forward or backward from the year of Jesus’ birth, then you might as well employ AD and BC. Render unto Caesar and all that, n’est-ce pas?

Addendum: Several pages of the book are on display each day in the Old Library at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland.

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