What We Are Reading Today: Design Magazine: Spirituality, by Raghad Alahmad

Updated 19 July 2018

What We Are Reading Today: Design Magazine: Spirituality, by Raghad Alahmad

I obtained a copy of Design Magazine by chance while covering an art event in Jeddah. I was mesmerized by the cover, designed by artist Raghad Alahmad: A recreational tree, people who look like they have come out of a book on the Islamic era, and a very catchy yellow background.

Issue 55 covers numerous topics, beginning with an interview with an interior designer and her passion for Islamic art, “not only for its beauty, but for the many stories each artifact and monument carries.” 

This is followed by a piece on the night lights of Islam’s capital Makkah, and how time plays a part in its significance.

The brains behind the magazine, Kholoud Attar, has worked with artists and designers to shed light on the scene in Saudi Arabia, and to discover unknown talents.


What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Updated 18 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Authors: Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz

 

In 1799, a French Army officer was rebuilding the defenses of a fort on the banks of the Nile when he discovered an ancient stele fragment bearing a decree inscribed in three different scripts. So begins one of the most familiar tales in Egyptology — that of the Rosetta Stone and the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

This book draws on fresh archival evidence to provide a major new account of how the English polymath Thomas Young and the French philologist Jean-François Champollion vied to be the first to solve the riddle of the Rosetta.

Jed Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz bring to life a bygone age of intellectual adventure. Much more than a decoding exercise centered on a single artifact, the race to decipher the Rosetta Stone reflected broader disputes about language, historical evidence, biblical truth, and the value of classical learning. Buchwald and Josefowicz paint compelling portraits of Young and Champollion, two gifted intellects with altogether different motivations. Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing as a means to greater knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. Champollion, swept up in the political chaos of Restoration France and fiercely opposed to the scholars aligned with throne and altar, admired ancient Egypt and was prepared to upend conventional wisdom to solve the mystery of the hieroglyphs.

Taking readers from the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France to the windswept monuments of the Valley of the Kings, The Riddle of the Rosetta reveals the untold story behind one of the nineteenth century’s most thrilling discoveries.