iOS app Android app

David Van Biema

Entries by David Van Biema

This Medieval Prayer Wheel Is More Than 1,000 Years Old And No One Knows How To Use It

(39) Comments | Posted May 3, 2015 | 7:58 AM

NEW YORK (RNS) The directions, if a little stilted, look familiar: “The Order Of The Diagram Written Here Teaches The Return Home.”

Think Parcheesi or Sorry.

But then think again. The board is not cardboard or plastic; it’s 1,035-year-old vellum. And there are no dice — just prayers.

Care to...

Read Post

New York's Museum Of Biblical Art Is Closing Down

(6) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 9:51 AM

NEW YORK (RNS) On the heels of what seemed like its greatest triumph — a magnificent display of sculptures by the Renaissance pioneer Donatello — a small but important museum in midtown Manhattan that specialized in religious art regarded with a neutrally secular eye announced Tuesday (April 28) that it...

Read Post

Bay Psalm Book Auction Smashes Record For Print Book With $14,200,000 Sale Price From Sotheby's

(139) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 10:44 AM

NEW YORK (RNS) On a dark, damp and expensive Tuesday night at Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan, one of the 11 surviving copies of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in English in America (and the first book of Scripture), was sold for the highest price ever recorded...

Read Post

"Cosas ordinarias, amor extraordinario:" La Madre Teresa y América Latina

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 1:24 PM

madre teresa de calcuta

No es difícil encontrar imágenes de santos en Tijuana. Pero, hay un imagen, en particular, que es un excepcional retrato doble maravilloso. En un edificio modesto, donde abundan monjas vestidas en saris blancos con tres tiras azules, hay una fotografía de la Madre...

Read Post

Mother Teresa As A Psalm

(574) Comments | Posted September 9, 2012 | 9:18 AM

(RNS) On September 5, 1997, the world mourned when Mother Teresa, whose work with the poorest of the poor made her a global icon, died of a heart ailment at age 87.

Exactly 10 years later, the world did a double take, when a volume of Teresa's private letters revealed...

Read Post

Museum Of Biblical Art (MoBiA) Raises Its Profile Amid Array Of Challenges

(3) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 7:03 AM

NEW YORK (RNS) When art historian Bruce Boucher wanted to reunite the three panels of a huge 14th-century altarpiece from three different countries, the Italian lender of one of the pieces had one condition: the finished product had to be shown at a big-city museum.

"And of course," said Boucher,...

Read Post

The Oscars, the Rabbi, Shakespeare and Psalm 90

(4) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 10:14 AM

Last week Los Angeles Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of L.A.'s Simon Wiesenthal Center, took time off from his day job -- documenting and attempting to prevent man's inhumanity to man -- to handicap the Oscars for the New York Times. (Hier, who also produces documentaries, is a member...

Read Post

Bad News Psalms

(52) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 3:20 PM

It's been a bad few weeks for Psalms in the news. Some perfectly good verses got dropped from a 35-year airline promotion, and a disturbing verse that some fringe characters have been employing for years to call for President Barak Obama's death achieved a new prominence, gleefully forwarded to colleagues...

Read Post

The Psalm In Santorum's Political Quiver

(9) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 2:33 PM

The Psalms, like all other Scripture, find their seasons, sometimes lying dormant and then suddenly meaningful again. Take Psalm 127. Jim Bob Duggar arrived in Iowa last Monday with, by his tally, "12 of our 19 children," on a blitz "trying to convince people one by one that Rick Santorum...

Read Post