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The zodiac panel and its significance

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Chapter Summary

The zodiac panel has been found in a group of synagogues whose mosaic floors display a typical tripartite scheme composition. The zodiac is the central panel, except at Sepphoris. The recurrence of the zodiac design in a number of synagogue mosaics indicates its relevance to religious thought, and calls for analysis of its place and importance. The significance and meaning of the Jewish zodiac panel is still under ongoing debate. Scholars have attempted to explain it in various ways: some interpret the zodiac panels as having astrological meanings; others explain these mosaics as symbolic, and some approach the zodiac panel content as representing the Jewish calendar. In conclusion, in these synagogue pavements the Jewish zodiac-calendar, the form, composition, and balance of the three- part scheme are identical, suggesting the existence of a prototype for the general design. The Jewish community assigned great importance to a design that expressed significant concepts.

Keywords:astrological meanings; Jewish calendar; mosaic floors; Significance; symbolic; synagogues; Zodiac Panel



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