Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni opened the temporary exhibition “Stone Paths – Stories Set in Stone: Jewish Inscriptions in Greece”, taking place simultaneously at the Jewish Museum of Greece and the Epigraphic Museum. She presented the President of the Museum Makis Matsas the certificate of Accreditation-Recognition, which the museum has received from the Ministry of Culture in digital form.

The exhibition is based on the scientific publication Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum Graeciae (CIJG) – Corpus of Jewish and Hebrew Inscriptions from Mainland and Island Greece which received an award from the Academy of Athens in 2019. It documents the presence of the Jews in Greece since the 4th century BC highlighting the Jewish element in Greece in one of the oldest recorded Jewish settlements in Europe.

As Lina Mendoni said in her greeting: “This publication is extremely important and for this reason it was awarded by the Academy of Athens, because it deals with talking stones. The epigraphic texts, the ones carved on stone, on some hard material in general, are the most direct evidence of a place’s history and the  bearers of language and writing. They are unmediated valuable written testimonies, which create History in a flawless way and without the mediation of any scribe. They offer direct historical information. A consequence of the research done on the corpus, is also the material itself, presented today in this exhibition which is museologically interesting, having two parts to it that are original both in their conception and implementation.

The greatest importance of the exhibition, however, lies in the fact that it historically demonstrates that diversity not only does not hinder coexistence but on the contrary, it is an enriching factor that broadens the foundations, strengthens the adaptability of society and ultimately increases cohesion and authenticity. The exhibition, therefore, has an added educational side to it, promoting tolerance in the place of all kinds of stereotypes and rhetoric of hatred and exclusion. In the light of the tragic events currently happening in Ukraine, and specifically in the context of a narrative of ‘denazification’ and ‘decisiveness’, the sober and unifying message of the Exhibition becomes even more timely”.

The content of the modular exhibition was refered to by the Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece Zanet Battinou and the Director of the Epigraphic Museum Athanasios Themos. The exhibits in the Epigraphic Museum are presented in thematic sections, covering all aspects of the social, religious, political and cultural life of the Jewish communities of Late Antiquity. The original “reading” proposed to the visitor by this double presentation lies in exploring the Jews’ early settlement in Greece not as an isolated historical event, but as an integral part of a wider historical, geographical and chronological framework, emphasizing and highlighting in this way, Greece’s multiculturalism.

The Jewish Museum of Greece presents the art exhibition entitled “Art of Memory and Commemoration”, curated by Victor Koen, and proposes a different reading of the inscriptions, through the contemporary gaze of ten artists from the world of fine and applied arts. Participating are font designer Yannis Karlopoulos, industrial designer Andreas Varotsos, artists Artemis Alkalay, Xenis Sachinis and Katerina Zafeiropoulou, artist duo Kalos & Klio and photographers Aris Georgiou and Marilia Fotopoulou. The exhibition is completed by a painting by the artist Morris Ganis (1973-2019) – in whose memory the exhibition is dedicated.

The exhibition is organized with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and is funded by the Hellenic-German Fund for the Future, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. Present at the opening was the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Ernst Reichel.

The exhibition “Stone Paths- Stories set in Stone : Jewish Inscriptions in Greece” is accompanied by the digital edition (e-book), of the epigraphic corpus, for the visitor to have a complete picture of the available material. The “Art of Memory and Commemoration” exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, as well as a bilingual edition entitled Jews in the Byzantine Empire by Professor Emeritus Nicholas de Lange, on the history and archaeology of the Jews of Late Antiquity and Byzantium.

The exhibition will be open to the public until the end of February 2023.