"The Crescent on the Temple" by Pamela Berger elucidates an obscured tradition—how the Dome of the Rock came to stand for the Temple of Solomon in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish art. The crusaders called the Dome of the Rock the “Temple of the Lord,” while Muslim imagery depicted Solomon enthroned within the domed structure. Jews knew that the ancient Temple had been destroyed. Nevertheless, in their imagery, they commonly labeled the Muslim shrine “The Temple.” That domed “Temple” was often represented with a crescent on top. This iconography, long hidden in plain sight, reflects one aspect of an historical affinity between Jews and Muslims.
Pamela Berger, Ph.D. (1974), Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, is a Professor of Art History and Film at Boston College. Her articles and books, including
The Goddess Obscured (Beacon Press, 1984), focus on iconographic interpretation.
Berger makes both a monumental historical contribution convincingly revealing a past that has been obscured as well as making us think about the times we live in. Hopefully, the “shock,” to quote Nohad Ali, produced by this book will have an influence on political and religious leaders alike—for the benefit of peace and returned inter-religiosity in Jerusalem. -
University of Nebraska at Omaha, in:
International Dialogue, A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs 3, 2013.
All readers interested in the artistic, religious and intellectual history of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim worlds, especially those drawn to iconographic interpretation.