Thursday, November 27, 2003

Idol thoughts

After three days of hearing papers and networking at AAR-SBL, our brains were full, so half a dozen friends and I headed for the traveling Etruscan exhibit at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum. It was wonderful to get away from the convention-hotel district.

The exhibit on ancient Etruscan life was organized by subjects: feasting, domestic life, war, the gods, etc. In a case of religious items I saw several small handbells. One looked almost identical to a "Sanctus bell" that I remembered from my altar-boy days, the kind rung at key moments during Mass. There is probably a line of unbroken ritual ringing of small bells from ancient northern Italy to your nearest parish church.

The jewelry case held a ring with a carnelian set in gold. One of the Pagan women raised her hand: her ring was almost identical.

You exit the exhibit into a special gift shop, of course. There among the reproduction Etruscan ware was a statuette of Diana that looked familiar. I turned it over: the label said "JBL Images," which is the old name of Sacred Source. Yes, their India-made idols were scattered throughout the shop. They must be the Wal-Mart of idolatry. (Does that make Mythic Images the Target of idolatry?)

Wear your carnelian, ring the bell, honor the gods of the city--does anything ever really change?


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