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March 9, 2001

SMU LATIN STUDENTS DEVELOP ONLINE LENTEN LABYRINTH

DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University Latin students, in collaboration with Bridwell Library, have developed a colorful online Lenten labyrinth that displays student translations of ancient and medieval Latin texts with images of the Holy Land.

The web site location is fllc.smu.edu/Latin/labyrinth and will be online through Easter, Sunday, April 15.

The translations are taken from a prayer of St. Anselm, Ovid's Fasti and the books of Luke and John from the Vulgate Bible of St. Jerome. They are paired with 14 hand-colored lithographs of the Holy Land by David Roberts, a 19th-century artist who was commissioned by British art patrons to travel to the Holy Land and record what he saw there. His lithographs were published in 1842 and are contained in bound volumes belonging to the Bridwell Library.

Roberts (1796-1864) was a leading landscape and architectural painter at the British Royal Academy whose art of the Middle East and North Africa was credited with heightening European fascination with the ancient world and biblical geography.

"The students have created an online journey to the Holy Land for Lent," said SMU Latin Professor Paula Lemmon. "The labyrinth design is similar to one on the floor of Chartres Cathedral and allows visitors to navigate through the Lenten season by clicking on the candles along the labyrinth path.

"Following the way of the labyrinth is an ancient tradition that has served as an opportunity for introspection since antiquity," Lemmon said. "We've added technology so more people can share the experience."

Using the online labyrinth, modern-day "pilgrims" can follow the steps of the labyrinth to points of illumination, denoted by lighted candles, that link first to the art, then to the Latin with the corresponding student translations.


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