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Ash Wednesday Thoughts: "Mene Thecel Phares"

Lopez Museum and Library's Rizaliana CollectionLopez Museum and Library’s Rizaliana Collection

#AshWednesday Dr. Jose Rizal through his literary alter-ego Juan Crisostomo Ibarra/Simoun quotes from the Book of Daniel: “Mene Thecel Phares“.

In Jose Rizal’s second novel El Filibusterismo, Crisostomo Ibarra, disguised as Simoun, planted an explosive disguised as a kerosene lamp in a reception party in Captain Tiago’s house, in an attempt to kill all high-ranking officials of the society and the church which will attend. He also leaves a note behind, “Mene, Thecel, Phares”, plus his name in his own handwriting. (wiki)

Originally, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin“, the expression comes from the Book of Daniel (Old Testament), Chapter 5, from the handwriting on the wall that was witnessed at a banquet hosted by King Belshazzar. “The writing on the wall”, or “the handwriting on the wall”, or “the writing is on the wall” or “Mene Mene”, is an idiom for “imminent doom or misfortune” and for “the future is predetermined”. (wiki)

BIBLIA HEBRAICA, or the Jewish Bible (Catholic Edition) was one of the books Rizal had read, and noted on his personal library p-slips.

Rizal meticulously kept track of his books by jotting down on “p-slips” every title in his rich collection. He was a bibliophile and bibliographer in the same vein as his bosom friend, Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera. (Lopez Museum and Library Collection)


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