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7. Biblical Controversy: A Clash Between Two Divinely Inspired Messages?

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Chapter Summary

The instructions for building the Tabernacle deal with constructing the Ark of the Testimony, which was to be made of pure gold, with a Cherub standing on either side of its cover, and placed in the Holy of Holies. With the help of Jewish and Christian-Byzantine visual artistic expressions, this chapter examines the conceptual conflict between the second commandment forbidding graven images and command to build the Tabernacle with its Ark, its Cherubim, and all other elements contained within it. It focuses on the question: How do we define and evaluate the tension between word and icon in religions of the Book, and is the 'word' more appropriate than the 'image' or 'icon' in approaching the sacred?

Keywords: Christian-Byzantine visual artistic expressions; conceptual conflict; divinely inspired messages; Exodus; graven images; Jewish; Tabernacle; Ten Commandments



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