By Guest Nicole
The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is now home to some of Ethiopia’s most important religious manuscripts after they were recently donated to the university by Chicago-based collectors Gerald and Barbara Weiner. The couple gave out the handmade leather manuscripts with the hope of allowing Ethiopians in the U.S. to use them for prayers and study, according to Catholic News Agency.
Dr. Aaron M. Butts, a professor of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literature at the university, put up a statement saying the collection “provides unparalleled primary sources for the study of Eastern Christianity.”
What’s In the Collection?
In total, the collection is comprised of 125 Christian manuscripts, including liturgical books, hagiographies, psalters, and 215 Islamic manuscripts, including the Quran and commentaries on Quran.
According to the Catholic News Agency, it’s the largest collection of Ethiopian Islamic manuscripts outside of Ethiopia.
More than 600 manuscripts were handmade using hides from calves, sheep, and goats, and are estimated to date back to the 18th and 19th century.
In the collection, there are over 350 “magic” scrolls, which are traditional Christian prayer talismans, and each was handwritten by a “debtera,” or a cleric in the Ethiopian church, and includes the name of the person it was written for.
Pieces of the manuscripts were worn around the neck for purposes of helping people with different kinds of ailments, including headaches, painful menstruation, and complicated childbirth.
Butts suggests that some of these scrolls, which were predominantly worn by women, may have been passed down through many generations, mainly from mother to daughter.
He added that the prayer jewels haven’t been studied much due to the personal nature of their use.
Washington, D.C., hosts one of the largest Ethiopian communities outside Ethiopia, and has several Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches and cultural centers, making it the best location to donate the manuscripts.
Ethiopia is predominantly a Christian country, with the majority of Christians belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
However, there are other small religious communities in the country, including Muslims, Judaists, and Pagans. There is also a minority section of Christians who are Roman Catholics or Protestants.
Many Ethiopians still use the prayer scrolls for protection and healing. They are often inscribed with prayers, spells, and charms to offer protection to their specific owner.
The text on these “magic” scrolls is often derived from the bible, which is why the majority of churches in the country tolerate despite their connection to magic.
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By Guest Nicole
AN UNHOLY row has broken out after the Protestant owner of a Christian bookshop refused to sell a bible to a woman - because she is CATHOLIC.
Muriel Swan, 61, was told she should “get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her” after she was turned away from The Mustard Seed Christian Bookshop.
She went to the shop to look for a gift for her eight-year-old grandson Cameron for his first Holy Communion.
But she was left cross when, she claims, staff told her they didn't stock Catholic literature and goods - despite advertising themselves as a Christian bookshop.
Mrs Swan blasted the owner of shop in Gedling, Nottingham, for being "anti-Catholic".
The gran-of-six, a carer from Redhill, Nottingham, said: "We asked the lady in the shop if she had anything for first communion and the reaction we received left us reeling.
"In this day and age I was left speechless when she said the shop was anti-Catholic.
"She went almost into a rage, my grandson and daughter in law were upset by this, it was truly awful.
"I bought two bibles previously from there but when I mentioned buying one for Holy Communion she said we don't stock Catholic items.
"But a bible is a bible surely.
"That's not what really upset me though. It was the fact she said the words 'we are anti-Catholic.'
"It is like saying she is anti-Christ. It was verging on racism.
"I said 'well you do Confirmation gifts' and she said 'they are Church of England not Catholic.'
"I couldn't believe my ears, we just left the shop empty-handed and feeling dumbfounded.
"I've since found out although they are a Protestant shop but they also stock Jewish things too.
"I have come up against discrimination before but all the time I have lived in England this is the first time anti-Catholicism has reared its ugly head.
"There were other people in the shop and that made it worse.
"We just wanted to buy a special Bible."
The Mustard Seed, which has been running for more than 30 years, describes itself as "Nottingham's only Christian bookshop".
Defiant owner Chris Stala defended her store and said Muriel should "get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her".
She added: "We are Protestant, not Catholic.
"The bottom line is that if you want Catholic things go to a Catholic shop.
"The complaint is ridiculous and its just logical you won't get Catholic things here.
"If you want Catholic goods you go to a Catholic store.
"We are not anti-Catholic anyway. I am a Christian and she is too but we are part of different sects.
"You would not get Jehovah's Witnesses coming here either.
"We don't advertise as a Protestant shop but people who come here just know.
"She should get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her because he has plenty of money."
The Equality and Human Rights Commission refused to comment on the case as it is a private matter and said it was up to the shop what they sell.
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Does the book of mormon compliment the Bible, or contradict it?
The Bible says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1). However, the Book of Mormon reads: “And behold, he shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem” (Alma 7:10). The writer of the Book of Mormon simply did not have his facts straight. The common Mormon explanation for this is that since Jerusalem was so close to Bethlehem, it could be said he was born there. However, in the Bible,
prophets of God did not make it a practice of just being “close” in their predictions. God would not have made such a mistake.
The Bible relates that at the crucifixion there were three hours of darkness (Luke 23:44). However, the Book of Mormon states there was darkness “for the space of three days” (Helaman 14:20,27). Of course, this is a big difference. Which one is true? Can God be responsible for conflicting statements such as these?
The Book of Mormon relates that at the tower of Babel the Jaredites had their separate language (Esther 1:34-35). The Bible, however, plainly states that “the whole earth was of one language” (Genesis 11:1). Apparently, the writer of the Book of Mormon mistakenly thought there were many different languages and that God confounded them while sparing the language of the Jaredites. The
fact is, there was only one language and God confounded the people by creating different languages.
3 Nephi 11:8-10 claims that after Jesus ascended to heaven, He appeared in America to the Lamanites and Nephites in A.D. 34. However, this clearly contradicts the Bible. Of the ascension of Christ to heaven God said, “Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstools” (Acts 2:34-35).
How long was He to be in heaven at God’s right hand? “For he must reign, until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Furthermore, in referring to the ascension, the Bible speaks of Christ as He “whom the heavens must receive until the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). Christ did not come to America—because He has been in heaven since His ascension.
In the Bible, the name “Jesus” was announced first by an angel (to Mary; Luke 1:31). This was in 1 B.C. However, Alma 19:29, dated in the Book of Mormon at 90 B.C., has a woman speaking to the Lord and calling him “Jesus.” Which account is accurate?
The Bible teaches that the church was established on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2), which would have been approximately A.D. 33. However, Mosiah 18:17, dated at 145 B.C., has the church already in existence. This represents quite a discrepancy, to say the least. Obviously, both cannot be correct. [NOTE: This same reference from Mosiah also mentions “baptism” as the means of being added to the church. However, according to the Bible the baptism taught by Christ did not begin until New Testament times (Matthew 28: 19).]
The Bible clearly reveals that the disciples of Christ “were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). This was approximately A.D. 40. However, Alma 46:13,15, dated at 73 B.C., has people already wearing the name “Christian”—which represents a difference of over 100 years. Which account are people to believe?
The Book of Mormon teaches that “Melchizedek...did reign under his father” (Alma 13:18). Yet the Bible reveals that Melchizedek was a priest under no one. His priesthood typified the priesthood of Christ, and therefore was unique. In contrast to the Book of Mormon, the Bible states that Melchizedek
was “without father, without mother, without descent”—emphasizing that he did not inherit his priesthood (Hebrews 7:3). The writer of the Book of Mormon did not know his Bible very well.
Ether 3:8-9 speaks of God having “flesh and blood.” Yet the Bible states clearly that God is a “spirit,” and thus does not possess a material body (John 4:24). In Doctrine and Covenants, another allegedly inspired writing of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith wrote: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (section 130:22). The Bible and the Book of Mormon both
cannot be correct on this point.
Mosiah 2:3 states: “And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings, according to the law of Moses.” This represents a blatant contradiction with the Bible, because the firstlings of the flocks were to be reserved for the Lord and given to the priests. They were never used for sacrifice (see Exodus 13:2,12; 22:29-30; Numbers 3:13; 18:15-18; 2 Samuel
3 Nephi 18:28-29 speaks of those who are “unworthy” to partake of the communion, and suggests that such people should be forbidden to partake. This is an obvious reference to Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (in fact, the Book of Mormon has a footnote to that effect). The application made here, however, shows that the writer of the Book of Mormon did not understand what Paul was saying, and as a result ended up with a serious misinterpretation. Paul was not discussing man’s personal worthiness, or lack thereof. Rather, he was discussing the manner in which the communion was being partaken. The context makes this clear. The word “unworthily” is an adverb of manner, and points to the way or manner in which a thing is done. The church at Corinth was abusing the
communion in the manner they were observing it by turning it into a common meal. The American Standard Version evokes the correct idea by employing the phrase, “in an unworthy manner.” By misinterpreting the word “unworthy,” the writer unknowingly demonstrated that his work was manmade.
It makes sense that if the translator of the Book of Mormon was guided by God, the volume would not contain such conspicuous contradictions with the Bible. Modern Mormon leaders claim that in the translation process, all mistakes were corrected as they were detected. This implies, then, that God somehow
must have failed to detect these mistakes—a position that impugns the nature and integrity of God.
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