Author Topic: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?  (Read 544 times)

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Offline Jackson02

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Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« on: February 22, 2018, 04:23:16 PM »
Its a well known fact that the Orthodox church derives its iconography from ancient synagogues, but are there any ancient writings by Jews attesting to the use of iconography in ancient synagogues? Rabbinical Jews of course reject this practice so it would be an eye opener.

Offline Mercurius1

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2018, 06:08:06 PM »
I look forward to reading about this, the only extant work of Jewish iconography I can think of that’s still around are the synogigue ruins at Dura Europus in Syria

Offline Jackson02

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2018, 07:27:19 PM »
I look forward to reading about this, the only extant work of Jewish iconography I can think of that’s still around are the synogigue ruins at Dura Europus in Syria
I've seen multiple other examples other than the Dura Europus. Here's a mosaic of the binding of Isaac from the Beit Alpha synagogue:



Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 07:30:42 PM by Jackson02 »

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 07:39:14 PM »
Maybe as just a poetic personification of the sun (especially given that the Zodiac, or the Mazzaroth as it's called in the Book of Job)?

Richard III has a Helios allusion, but Shakespeare was not a Greek pagan-

Quote
The weary sun hath made a golden set,
And by the bright track of his fiery car,
Gives token of a goodly day tomorrow
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 07:42:23 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 07:40:19 PM »
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?


I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
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Offline Jackson02

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 07:54:08 PM »
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?


I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Interesting, Rabbinical judaism would never approve of this today,

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2018, 01:57:10 PM »
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?


I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.

Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 02:13:18 PM »
Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.
I don't know what to think about that as a Christian, but as a curious person, this is amazing.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2018, 02:18:42 PM »
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?


I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.

Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.

I don't doubt that syncretism went into it for some, but it does make sense from a Biblical perspective:

Quote from: Job 38:31-33
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
    or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
    or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?"

"Mazzaroth" is a probable reference to the Zodiac.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 02:19:49 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Faithseeker

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2018, 05:54:08 PM »
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?


I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Interesting, Rabbinical judaism would never approve of this today,
Actually, I have to respectfully disagree. The zodiac has Kabbalistic interpretations and for this reason, the zodiac is still referred to and studied through this medium of interpretation by Rabbinic Judaism.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 08:04:40 PM »
How Rabbinical is the Kabbalah, though?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Jackson02

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2018, 08:43:17 PM »
How Rabbinical is the Kabbalah, though?
Very.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2018, 09:06:13 PM »
It's ingrained in Hasidism, yes. But is Hasidism the whole of modern Rabbinical Judaism?

Then again, maybe I'm just chasing shadows.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Faithseeker

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 09:23:17 PM »
Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2018, 09:33:04 PM »
Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.

Ok. I'll defer to you.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Jackson02

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2018, 10:05:26 PM »
Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.
I come from a conservative Jewish background and my Rabbi didn't study the talmud. The reform Jews also reject the Talmud as overly zealous
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 10:05:46 PM by Jackson02 »

Offline Faithseeker

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Re: Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2018, 11:15:45 AM »
That's very odd because one of the mandatory requirements from Conservative seminaries is Talmudic study. Not on the same level as Orthodox but considering the fact that Conservative Judaism is bound to the laws of kashrus in the synagogue at minimum (for example), Conservative Rabbis do study Talmud. Reform seminaries also study Talmud but do so as a pick and choose if you believe the teachings are important for today.

This topic is about iconography in Judaism and it was pointed out the topic of the zodiac and its relationship to Kabbalah. Kabbalah is indeed studied, even just in passing in minute amounts in both Reform and Conservative seminaries.

I went to a Reform seminary that was also connected to JTS - the Conservative seminary and we were taught Kabbalah and Talmud.  As were the students in other seminaries that were not yeshivos (Orthodox schools).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 11:19:36 AM by Faithseeker »