David J. Goa, Curator and Author, Introduces Anno Domini
Welcome to Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries, an exploration of the heart of two millennia.
The year 2000 commemorates the birth of the Christian tradition. At the end of the second millennium many argue that Christian civilization has come to an end. At the same time, interest in Jesus, the man who belongs to the world, reaches into all corners of the world. We see a renewed interest in spirituality and exploration of the great questions of life's meaning.
Why is this exhibition important? In much of North America and Europe, the younger generations have little knowledge of the central figure in the formation of Western culture. They know little of the way Jesus, his person and teaching, and the way he has been understood, has shaped and reshaped so many key developments in art, science, politics, ideas, society, and culture. Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries offers a modest opportunity to glimpse and consider this tap-root of culture and civilization.
The virtual edition of Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries is the result of a lengthy and fruitful partnership between The Provincial Museum of Alberta, Alberta Community Development, and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). It is part of a larger project that includes a major physical exhibition that opened at The Provincial Museum of Alberta in Edmonton in October 2000. I particularly appreciate the interest of Lyn Elliot Sherwood that made this partnership possible, and the able work of my colleagues at CHIN, Danielle Boily and Kim L. Gauvin.
I began to consider this exhibition a decade ago. In 1994, I contacted the eminent historian of Christian ideas Jaroslav Pelikan and began discussing the seed idea. Pelikan's wonderful books, Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985) and The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997) have been an inspiration and touchstone for our work. Jaroslav Pelikan is the Honorary Curator for Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries.
Many have contributed to this virtual exhibition. I must note the superb work of my curatorial colleague Hélène Dionne, at the Musée de la civilisation (Quebec); Linda Distad, whose research and editorial skills provide both delight and clarity; Matthew Wangler, who has joined me in research and working on text; Andru McCracken, who has been our guide through the wilds of cyberspace; Kevin Konowalec for his lovely site design and Jason Golinowski for completing the site. Finally, a word of appreciation to Dr. W. Bruce McGillivray, Assistant Director, Curatorial, The Provincial Museum of Alberta, for smoothing the many pathways necessary for our work.
A final note of gratitude goes to those who have taught me the significance of the encounter with Jesus over twenty centuries, and particularly to Jaroslav Pelikan for his elegant synthesis.
David J. Goa,
Curator of Folklife
The Provincial Museum of Alberta