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Religion, Art & Cultural Heritage - CBS

Among the ways to understand any religion is through its art and cultural heritage. RELIGION, ART & CULTURAL HERITAGE, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at its importance in understanding faith, identity and history. This special broadcast will air Sunday, Dec. 4 (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network.

On Sept. 26, the exhibit “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People under Heaven” opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Barbara Drake Boehm and Melanie Holcomb, as the co-curators of the exhibit, discuss in the special how this holiest of cities inspired some of the most beautiful and complex works of art across faith traditions. 

Dr. Michael Peppard is an associate professor in Fordham University’s department of theology and the author of The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria. He discusses Dura-Europos’ importance in understanding the life and practices of early Christians in the region and how this ancient Roman fortress town was home to a multi-religious community.  Lisa R. Brody, Ph.D., the Associate Curator of Ancient Art at Yale University Art Gallery, talks about the university’s permanent collection of artifacts from the Dura-Europos excavations.

Today archeological sites like Dura-Europos are under threat due to civil war in the region. Katharyn Hanson, Ph.D., an archeologist and fellow at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute in Washington, D.C., explains how armed conflict and looting is affecting cultural heritage sites and how this affects a community’s personal and religious identity.  

The key to understanding the religious and cultural tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is through its literary heritage. Since 1999, the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) in Cambridge, MA has sought to collect, scan and catalogue manuscripts and make them available online. Executive Director Jeff Wallman speaks about the work of this non-profit organization and its founder, E. Gene Smith. Also featured are Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, professor of Tibetan and Himalayan studies with the department of South Asian studies and with the department of East Asian languages and civilizations of Harvard University; and Timothy J. McNeill, president, CEO and publisher of Wisdom Publications.

John P. Blessington is senior executive producer and Liz Kineke is producer. In creating the topics and content of this CBS Cultural & Religious Documentary, they sought input from religious scholars, clergy and others including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and various interfaith organizations.

Following the Dec. 4 air date, this program may be viewed again at “Like” us on and follow us on Twitter @CBSReligion.

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Press Contact:

Phoebe Gittelson            212-975-4796  

Later Event: December 25
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