Exhibition exposes Tower of Babel

Pic of
`Tower of Babel'

Four biblical stories and their meanings provide the subject for a new exhibition of books, manuscripts, and scientific instruments at the Bodleian Library. The stories are those of the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and Solomon's Temple. The Tower from Athanasius Kircher's Turris Babel (Amsterdam, 1679) (pictured left) is part of the display.

The exhibition concentrates on their meanings for critical readers and observers during the seventeenth century, when these stories were felt to provide a history of the pursuit of knowledge.

Programmes of reform in agriculture, language, and philosophy were inspired by their example, which also led to the creation of new ways of presenting knowledge in museums and botanical gardens. At the exhibition's heart is the work of Samuel Hartlib and his friends, a group of innovators motivated by zeal to improve the physical and spiritual health of society.

The exhibition, organised by the Bodleian and the Museum of the History of Science, runs from 2 February to 2 May.

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