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The jewish image of God in late antiquity

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Chapter Summary

The significance of the depiction of the sun god as the central figure of the zodiac mosaics found in many Palestinian synagogues of late antiquity has been long debated. Standard interpretations of the sun god image in synagogues derive their timidity from the ambiguous and contradictory Jewish traditions as to whether God has any form and, if so, whether that form is anthropomorphic. In a number of narrative pictures from Dura Europos and in some of the mosaic depictions of the binding of Isaac the right hand of God can be clearly seen emerging from the sky. In a useful article on the cult of the highest god Theos Hypsistos, Stephen Mitchell has suggested how pagan worshippers of this divinity identified him with the God of the Jews, and later the Christians.

Keywords: Christians; Dura Europos; Jews; late antiquity; Stephen Mitchell; sun god; Theos Hypsistos



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