Page 121 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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1494), the Florentine Platonist who is regarded as the initiator
of the Renaissance.
Rabbi Philip Hiat served as the general editor of the
exhibition’s catalogue, which was published jointly by the Center
for the Fine Arts at Miami and the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations. In the catalogue are three major essays: “A His­
tory of the Hebrew Collections of the Vatican Library,” by Le­
onard E. Boyle O.P., “Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts in the
Vatican Library,” by Dr. Joseph Gutmann, and “Texts in Con­
text: Hebraica in the Vatican Library as a Resource for Jewish-
Christian Relations,” by Dr. Michael A. Signer.
This catalogue was, however, intended to be more than the
ordinary cultural or intellectual artifact. It was to become some­
thing which would aid to create deeper respect and understand­
ing between Christians and Jews, demonstrating to people how
alike we have been.
The exhibition, in trying to foster better relations, neither
hid nor denied the past, but sought to present it openly. In
this not-so-hidden agenda, frankness about the past and hope
for the future were both present. There was neither any attempt
to suger-coat history nor to pretend that today’s society accu­
rately reflects the past. It is universally known that Christian-
Jewish relations in the past were frequently adversarial. Yet in
spite of such a climate, it is also known that Christians and Jews,
while living in parallel societies, did have contact with one an­
other at several levels. Positive contact in many areas may have
been rarer than the negative, but because we hope we are living
in a more understanding age, we must cherish such rare mo­
ments and use them as the basis for building and improving
understanding and respect.