A public conversation
Friday 22 June 2012, 12.15 – 1.30pm. Visions Theatre. Free. BOOKED OUT
For more than a thousand years, caravans conveyed pilgrims, merchants, soldiers and spies along the ancient overland path between East and West. Jade and rubies, amber and silk changed hands enroute along with ideas. More recently adventurers and explorers have followed the footsteps of the ancient travellers – and made some remarkable discoveries.
Join Sydney Morning Herald journalist Joyce Morgan, co-author of Journeys on the Silk Road, and Ken Parry, ancient history scholar and Silk Road expert, as they discuss the splendour and history of the Silk Road from before Genghis Khan to today.
The talk will be followed by Joyce Morgan signing her book in the Museum Shop.
Dr Ken Parry is a Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow in the Department of Ancient History, and member of the Ancient Cultures Research Centre, at Macquarie University, Sydney. He teaches in the areas of Late Antiquity, Byzantine Studies and Silk Road Studies, and is a convenor of the Master of Arts degree in Ancient Art and Architecture. He has travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Central Asia, India and China.
Dr Parry studied philosophy, theology and comparative religion at the University of Manchester where he specialised in ancient and medieval philosophy, church history and patristics, and gained his doctorate in Byzantine theology. He was awarded various scholarships by the British Academy, the Greek Ministry of Culture, and the former Yugoslav Ministry of Culture to undertake research in the UK and in the Balkans.
Joyce Morgan is a senior arts journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald and co-author of Journeys on the Silk Road, the story of the world’s oldest printed book. Joyce has worked as a journalist for more than three decades in London, Sydney and Hong Kong. Her writing has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian and the Bangkok Post. She has written on arts and culture since 1994. She is a former arts editor of the the Sydney Morning Herald and has worked as a producer with ABC Radio. Born in Liverpool, England, Joyce has travelled extensively in Asia, including India, Pakistan, China and Tibet.
Journeys on the Silk Road by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters
When a Chinese monk broke through a hidden door in 1900, he uncovered one of history’s greatest literary secrets: a 1000-year-old time capsule of life along the ancient Silk Road. Inside the chamber on the edge of the Gobi Desert, documents were piled from floor to ceiling. The gem among them was the Diamond Sutra (868 CE), now recognised as the world’s oldest printed book.
The sutra, a key Buddhist teaching, was printed more than 500 years before the printing press transformed European civilisation. The book’s journey – by camel through treacherous deserts, by boat to London’s curious scholars, by train to evade the bombs of World War II – merges an explorer’s adventures, political intrigue and continued controversy.
The words of the Diamond Sutra have inspired Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley and the Dalai Lama. Its path from East to West has coincided with the growing appeal of Buddhism in the contemporary world. As the Gutenberg Age cedes to the Google Age, the discovery of the Silk Road’s greatest treasure is an epic tale of survival, a literary investigation and an evocation of the travelling power of the book.
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