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The Torah Ark in Renaissance Poland

A Jewish Revival of Classical Antiquity

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Ilia Rodov

The volume explores the stone carved shrines for the scrolls of the Mosaic Law from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century synagogues in the former Polish Kingdom. Created on the margin of mainstream art and at a crossroad of diverse cultures, artistic traditions, aesthetic attitudes and languages, these indoor architectural structures have hitherto not been the subject of a monographic study. Revisiting and integrating multiple sources, the author re-evaluates the relationship of the Jewish culture in Renaissance Poland with the medieval Jewish heritage, sepulchral art of the Polish court and nobles, and earlier adaptations of the Christian revival of classical antiquity by Italian Jews. The book uncovers the evolution of artistic patronage, aesthetics, expressions of identities, and emerging visions among a religious minority on the cusp of the modern age.

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Steven Fine

Art, History, and the Historiography of Judaism in Roman Antiquity explores the complex interplay between visual culture, texts, and their interpretations, arguing for an open-ended and self-aware approach to understanding Jewish culture from the first century CE through the rise of Islam. The essays assembled here range from the “thick description” of Josephus’s portrayal of Bezalel son of Uri as a Roman architect through the inscriptions of the Dura Europos synagogue, Jewish reflections on Caligula in color, the polychromy of the Jerusalem temple, new-old approaches to the zodiac, and to the Christian destruction of ancient synagogues. Taken together, these essays suggest a humane approach to the history of the Jews in an age of deep and long-lasting transitions—both in antiquity, and in our own time.

This book is also available in paperback.

"Taken as a whole, Fine’s book exhibits the value of bridging disciplines. The historiographical segments integrated throughout this volume offer
essential insights that will inform any student of Roman and late antiquity." Yael Wilfand, Hebrew University, Review of Biblical Literature, 2014.

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Steven H. Werlin

Following the failure of the Bar-Kokhba revolt in the second century, the majority of the Jewish population of Palestine migrated northward away from Jerusalem to join the communities of Jews in Galilee and the Golan Heights. Although rabbinic sources indicate that from the second century onward the demographic center of Jewish Palestine was in Galilee, archaeological evidence of Jewish communities is found in the southern part of the country as well.

In The Ancient Synagogues of Southern Palestine, 300-800 C.E., Steve Werlin considers ten synagogues uncovered in southern Palestine. Through an in-depth analysis of the art, architecture, epigraphy, and stratigraphy, the author demonstrates how monumental, religious structures provide critical insight into the lives of those who were strangers among Christians and Muslims in their ancestral homeland.

The War Scroll, Violence, War and Peace in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature

Essays in Honour of Martin G. Abegg on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday

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Edited by Kipp Davis, Kyung S. Baek, Peter W. Flint and Dorothy Peters

This volume is a collection of essays written in honour of Martin G. Abegg from a range of contributors with expertise in Second Temple Jewish literature in reflection upon Prof. Abegg’s work. These essays are arranged according to four topics that deal with various aspects of text, language and interpretation of the Qumran War Scroll, and concepts of war and peace in Second Temple Jewish literature.

The contents of the volume are divided into the following four main sections: (1) The War Scroll, (2) War and Peace in the Hebrew Scriptures, (3) War and Peace in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and (4) War and Peace in early Jewish and Christian texts and interpretation.

The Caves of Qumran

Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014

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Edited by Marcello Fidanzio

In Qumran studies, the attention of scholars has largely been focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls, while archaeology has concentrated above all on the settlement. This volume presents the proceedings of an international conference (Lugano 2014) dedicated entirely to the caves of Qumran. The papers deal with both archaeological and textual issues, comparing the caves in the vicinity of Qumran between themselves and their contents with the other finds in the Dead Sea region. The relationships between the caves and the settlement of Qumran are re-examined and their connections with the regional context are investigated. The original inventory of the materials excavated from the caves by Roland de Vaux is published for the first time in appendix to the volume.

Viewing Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology

VeHinnei Rachel – Essays in Honor of Rachel Hachlili

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Edited by Ann Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

In honor of eminent archaeologist and historian of ancient Jewish art, Rachel Hachlili, friends and colleagues offer contributions in this festschrift which span the world of ancient Judaism both in Palestine and the Diaspora. Hachlili's distinctive research interests: synagogues, burial sites, and Jewish iconography receive particular attention in the volume. Archaeologists and historians present new material evidence from Galilee, Jerusalem, and Transjordan, contributing to the honoree’s fields of scholarly study. Fresh analyses of ancient Jewish art, essays on architecture, historical geography, and research history complete the volume and make it an enticing kaleidoscope of the vibrant field of scholarship that owes so much to Rachel.

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Edited by Joshua J. Schwartz and Peter J Tomson

This volume discusses crucial aspects of the period between the two revolts against Rome in Judaea that saw the rise of rabbinic Judaism and of the separation between Judaism and Christianity. Most contributors no longer support the ‘maximalist’ claim that around 100 CE, a powerful rabbinic regime was already in place. Rather, the evidence points to the appearance of the rabbinic movement as a group with a regional power base and with limited influence. The period is best seen as one of transition from the multiform Judaism revolving around the Second Temple in Jerusalem to a Judaism that was organized around synagogue, Tora, and sages and that parted ways with Christianity.

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Ze'ev Safrai

Seeking out the Land describes the study of the Holy Land in the Roman period and examines the complex connections between theology, social agenda and the intellectual pursuit. Holiness as a theological concept determines the intellectual agenda of the elite society of writers seeking to describe the land, as well as their preoccupation with its physical aspects and their actual knowledge about it.
Ze'ev Safrai succeeds in examining all the ancient monotheistic literature, both Jewish and Christian, up to the fourth century CE, and in demonstrating how all the above-mentioned factors coalesce into a single entity. We learn that in both religions, with all their various subgroups, the same social and religious factors were at work, but with differing intensity.

The Coinage of Herod Antipas

A Study and Die Classification of the Earliest Coins of Galilee

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Jean-Philippe Fontanille and Aaron Kogon

The Coinage of Herod Antipas provides a comprehensive, multifaceted and up-to-date re-examination of the coins of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea between 4/3 BCE and 39/40 CE. Kogon and Fontanille classify about 800 coins by obverse and reverse dies. From this die classification they generate, for the first time ever for this tetrarch, about 300 composite die images. In addition, the authors examine both technical aspects of the coins (e.g. metrology, mint output) and non-technical aspects (e.g. inscriptions, iconography). They also review the geographic distribution of provenanced coins. Through this analysis of the coins of Herod Antipas, Kogon and Fontanille provide a greater understanding of the Sitz im Leben of first century Galilee.

Rachel Hachlili

The Menorah, the ancient seven-armed candelabrum, was the most important Jewish symbol both in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora. The menorah was the most important of the Temple vessels and it also came to symbolize Judaism, when it was necessary to distinguish synagogues and Jewish tombs from Christian or pagan structures. This book is a continuation of Hachlili's earlier comprehensive study, The Menorah, the Ancient Seven-armed Candelabrum: Origin, Form and Significance. Brill, 2001. It entails the compilation and study of the material of the past two decades, presenting the theme of the menorah, focusing on its development, form, meaning, significance, and symbolism in antiquity.