Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Talmudic Icons


Not much later, at about the time the Dura Synagogue came into being, the Palestinian Talmud records the grudging recognition of Jewish art ( Abodah Zarah 48d ): “In the days of Rabbi Jochanan, men began to paint pictures on the walls, and he did not hinder them”, and “In the days of Rabbi Abun, men began to make designs of mosaics and he did not hinder them.” ( Abodah Zarah 42b ). To the above passages, we add still another, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Leviticus 26:1. This Aramaic translation first paraphrases the prohibition against making idols and graven images and such figures in stone as men bow down to. Then the text makes an exception: “But a stone column carved with images and likeness you may make upon the premises of your sanctuaries, but not to worship them.” At last we hear the correct application of the second commandment.

Jacob Milgrom, “The Dura Synagogue and Visual Midrash,”

Scriptures for the Modern World, ed. Paul R. Cheesman and C. Wilfred Griggs
(Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984), 29–60.

2 comments:

David said...

Excellent! Fr. Stephen Bighams "Early Christian Attitudes Toward Images" examines the same information at length; Protestant iconoclasm has zero historical basis.

Marlon said...

Awesome, awesome! You guys are bringing out some great stuff. Where will iconoclasts go to find refuge?

Old Testament Israel? OUT!
The ancient Church? OUT!
Talmudic/Rabbinic Judaism? OUT!
Martin Luther? OUT!

The only place that possibly remains to take up refuge under is an inflated and self-willed ego...

Thank you gentleman!!

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